East Antrim eyes ‘staycationer’ boom with new series of visitor attractions plan
Electric bike tours are among a package of new visitor attractions being considered for the Antrim coast.
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has made a funding bid for just over £220k to a Tourism NI Covid recovery programme.
As well as electric bike trails in Glenarm, Whitehead and Islandmagee, a water sport hub in Carnlough, boat tours between Carnlough and Glenarm and tours of ‘Victorian Whitehead’ have also been suggested.
In addition, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) is working to create new coastal visitor destination “hubs” in Whitehead/Islandmagee and Glenarm/Carnlough areas.
Councillors have been told that DAERA has been working with east Antrim businesses and local communities to prepare a “visitor experience development plan”.
A report to the council’s Borough Growth Committee said: “By investing in new and improved experiences, these programmes aim to spread tourist traffic more evenly throughout the country and will create vital economic activity in rural areas.
“This is a key focus for council as we move forward with economic recovery of our tourism economy.
“Attracting visitors into the borough through offering new authentic experiences will enhance the tourism appeal of the region and encourage visitors to spend more and stay longer.”
Speaking at a meeting of the Borough Growth Committee this week, Bannside TUV Councillor Timothy Gaston said that there is a “massive opportunity over the coming years for the staycation business” in Mid and East Antrim, particularly with regard to provision for camper vans, motor homes and glamping pods.
Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter
Click here to read: Call for coastal businesses in Mid and East Antrim to get on board £50k tourism boost
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