Mid and East Antrim Council develops new visitor guide

editorial image

Mid and East Antrim Councillors have viewed a draft copy of interim tourism literature which will be used during the main tourist season.

During a meeting of the council’s Economic Growth and Development Committee on January 18, councillors examined a draft copy of the borough’s 2016 visitor’s guide.

In October 2015, members approved a budget of £31,500 for the production of a visitor and accommodation guide, a large exhibition stand, six pop-up stands, a borough map, town maps and promotional items.

A council officer told elected representatives that council had “only been in a position to appoint someone to develop the brochure in the week coming up to Christmas”.

She added that there was “a lot of copy missing” from the draft brochure, and that the brochure would be developed by the same team which manages the borough’s new household magazine.

The draft brochure was broken down into ten sections including must-see attractions, history and heritage, arts and culture, exploring, exercise, taste and accommodation.

In response to a question from Councillor Stephen Nicholl regarding the inclusion of more eateries, the council officer said the difficulty would be “where to draw the line” with the brochure. However, she said that it was intended to update the online business database and that all eateries would then be included in a business directory.

Cllr Nicholl said that council would “eventually need to move to an app” for visitor attractions. The council officer agreed but said that this couldn’t happen until after a tourism strategy was developed at the end of March.

Deputy Mayor Timothy Gaston said the map section would be a “good chance to pull people out into country areas to see the scenery.”

Alderman Maureen Morrow asked if reference could be made to Steensons Jewellers’ Économusée. She also asked if the reference to the “A2 Coast Road” could be changed to the “Antrim Coast Road.”

However, the council officer said that Tourism NI and Tourism Ireland referred to it as the Causeway Coast Road, and that using this would maximise the tourism and marketing collateral. Ald Morrow then suggested listing local foods in the brochure.

The council officer said she would take on board the comments and would email councillors an updated version of the brochure provided that any changes be made in 24-48 hours to meet the print deadline. Councillors agreed to the proposal.