East Antrim businesses help put hidden gems on the tourist map

Local businesses encourage tourists to explore east Antrims hidden gems at the launch of the East Antrim Coastal Way at the Knockagh Monument in Carrickfergus.  Pictured (l-r): Judith Tweed, St Ronans B&B; Kelli Bagchus, Carrickfergus Enterprise and Alison Brenan, Fools Haven Self Catering.  INLT 20-661-CON

Local businesses encourage tourists to explore east Antrims hidden gems at the launch of the East Antrim Coastal Way at the Knockagh Monument in Carrickfergus. Pictured (l-r): Judith Tweed, St Ronans B&B; Kelli Bagchus, Carrickfergus Enterprise and Alison Brenan, Fools Haven Self Catering. INLT 20-661-CON

Local businesses are encouraging tourists to discover local hidden gems with the launch of the new East Antrim Coastal Way map.

Led by Carrickfergus Enterprise and supported by the Coastal Communities Fund, the initiative highlights local landmarks including traditional tourist spots Carrickfergus Castle and the Gobbins cliff path, as well as lesser known places such as Blackhead Lighthouse, the Knockagh Monument and the 4000-year-old Ballylumford Dolmen.

Kelli Bagchus, manager of Carrickfergus Enterprise said:“The East Antrim tourism offering is often bypassed as tourists travel along the coastline.

“By highlighting our landmarks on the East Antrim Coastal Way, we are supporting the high quality hospitality businesses throughout Newtownabbey, Carrickfergus, Larne and Islandmagee, while contributing to the wider industry.

“The re-opening of the Gobbins cliff path has brought more visitors to the area, but we see potential to continue this growth by encouraging tourists to explore the East Antrim Coastal Way.”

Alison Brennen operates rental accommodation close to an exhibition on the life and career of the 7th US President Andrew Jackson, one of the attractions on the route.

She said:“The viability of our business depends on tourists coming to this area and staying here.

“We have attractions here of great historical and natural significance that have gone under the radar during the recent growth of the local tourism industry.

“Coming into the summer months, we’re looking forward to seeing the benefits that an additional tourism boost will bring to the local businesses and communities involved.”

Carrickfergus Enterprise has been providing support to the local business community and budding entrepreneurs for more than three decades.