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Council eye 2021 as tourism opportunity with ‘people to continue staying at home’

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council will place a great emphasis on the Game of Thrones project in an attempt to boost tourism throughout the borough.

Members of Council’s economic development and regeneration committee were presented with a report outlining Council’s 2021 action plan framework for its tourism department and the steps Council is taking to help support the tourism and hospitality sector.

The report notes that the tourism and hospitality sector have had an “effective bar on trading” for much of 2020 and with trading conditions uncertain in 2021, additional interventions will be required.

The report also outlines strategic priorities for Council’s tourism department and says an “increased emphasis” on the Game of Thrones visitor attraction will maximise the benefit of the development for Banbridge and the wider borough.

A number of other strategic priorities are listed including a desire to innovate and utilise established networks to showcase the borough’s realigned tourism proposition and a focus on building capacity amongst businesses in the sector to strengthen the borough’s tourism offer.

From this list, Council’s tourism department has developed an action plan framework to help boost the borough’s tourism offering.

Items on the action plan framework include the development and roll out of a hotel development opportunities campaign and a strategic tourism communications plan.

Proposing the report, Councillor Sam Nicholson said it was clear the sector has been hit hard but hoped the hard work of council’s tourism department during the pandemic would stand the local industry in good stead.

“There is no doubt the sector has been worst hit during the pandemic,” said Councillor Nicholson.

“We had built such a strong tourism message and product before Covid-19 hit so hopefully that will hold us in good stead so I am happy to proposed the recommendation to accept this report.”

His proposal was seconded by party colleague Councillor Jill Macauley who said she hopes 2021 will be a good year for “staycations”.

Councillor Thomas O’Hanlon said: “2021 will give an opportunity for people to continue staying at home.

“This could be a good opportunity for this borough, let us hope that we get some good warm weather.”

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