New £25,000 tourism development project for Causeway Coastal Route

From left - Mary O'Driscoll, chair Glens Cluster; Siobhan McKenna,Trade Engagement officer Causeway Coast & Glens Council, Norman McBride, chair of Gobbins Cluster, Andrew Hill, Troggs Surf Shop, Ann Donaghy, chair of Causeway & Binevenagh Cluster, Joanne McLaughlin, Economic Development officer Causeway Coast & Glens Council and Kelli Bagchus, facilitator Causeway Coastal Route Cluster.
From left - Mary O'Driscoll, chair Glens Cluster; Siobhan McKenna,Trade Engagement officer Causeway Coast & Glens Council, Norman McBride, chair of Gobbins Cluster, Andrew Hill, Troggs Surf Shop, Ann Donaghy, chair of Causeway & Binevenagh Cluster, Joanne McLaughlin, Economic Development officer Causeway Coast & Glens Council and Kelli Bagchus, facilitator Causeway Coastal Route Cluster.

Causeway Coastal Route Tourism Cluster has received £25,000 to further improve the area’s popularity as a visitor destination.

The funding boost, through Invest Northern Ireland’s Collaborative Growth Programme, will enable the cluster to scope out how best to encourage a wider tourism market.

Led by Marine Hotel Ballycastle, the project will focus on assessing how best to bring together three existing groups, The Gobbins, The Glens of Antrim and Causeway and Binevenagh.

Ann Donaghy, chair of Causeway and Binevenagh Chair, said: “The Causeway Coastal Route has fantastic landscapes with iconic attractions. Our tourists continue to seek new adventures, experiences, activities and attractions. The Causeway Coastal Routes 200 micro businesses have much to offer to increase dwell time and create sustainable year-round businesses within our communities.

“The Collaborative Growth programme is a welcomed opportunity to support SMEs to collectively explore new products, services or ways of working with the aim of strengthening and growing their business”

Niall Casey, Director of Skills and Competitiveness at Invest NI, said: “In recent years we have supported over 100 such projects across a diverse range of sectors and subject matters; and we are confident that collaboration is a very successful method of accelerating business growth.”

Having worked in the enterprise sector for 24 years, Kelli Bagchus, manager of Carrickfergus Enterprise, has been appointed as facilitator of this project.

Kelli said: “There are brilliant experiences out there, but the industry tends to be fragmented so this funding and collective working will ultimately lead to a combined focus and improve business performance for those in the area.

“I have a real understanding of the local landscape having assessed business needs and developed innovative support mechanisms such as the Coastal Hub Series and travel app, Experience Northern Ireland. There is a desire to continue to enhance the unique offerings of the wonderful Causeway Coast and we will continue to maximise on this.”

The project will run until November 2020. If you would like to help shape tourism in your area or find out more, get in touch via kelli@ceal.co.uk