The annual Tourism Conference, which is organised by the Armagh City, Banbridge, and Craigavon Borough Council, had its most recent instalment in October 2023. The event brought together leaders of various industries who all have the same shared vision of bolstering local tourism through fresh strategies and partnerships.
Key Talking Points of the Conference
One of the key talking points was unique visitor experiences – excursions that allow travellers to engage with the local culture authentically while making memories. Speakers highlighted the importance of harnessing local food and produce as a cornerstone of these experiences. By tapping into the region’s great cuisine, Armagh can offer tourists a taste of both its heritage and contemporary innovation.
Speaking of innovation, this was a word that took centre stage throughout discussions at the conference. Speakers explored how businesses could adapt to overcome various challenges within the sector while also seizing new opportunities presented by emerging trends. The ABC Council made it clear that there’s a strong commitment to bringing more tourists to the region, and that they’re aiming to showcase Armagh’s unique culture and stories. The long-term goal is to attract visitors not just locally, but at the national and international levels, as well.
Armagh as a Northern Irish Tourist Destination
While the likes of commercial hotspots such as Dublin and Belfast are go-to locations on account of their international reputations, Armagh is often left in the shadows. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. Another way that these leaders can find success is by leaning into what Armagh already has going for it. When a tourist is looking for plane tickets to Belfast, for example, they probably don’t realise that a destination like Armagh is only 28 miles from the airport.
The town is easily accessible and boasts plenty of different attractions. In addition, historical and cultural offerings such as the iconic twin cathedrals, the ancient myths of Navan Fort and St Patrick’s Trian, make it perfect for any tourist.
If a traveller times their trip just right, they can enjoy the Apple Blossom Festival held at Loughgall Country Park each year. Not only does this showcase the natural beauty of the region, but it also celebrates local agriculture, something that the conference participants highlighted as being important.
Another benefit of visiting Armagh is that some of the best experiences don’t cost anything. Known as The Pilgrim Walk, heading out on Saint Patrick’s Way gives visitors the chance to explore the incredibly scenic and historically important pilgrimage route associated with Saint Patrick. While not as historically important, both the Craigavon Lakes Circular and the Gosford Forest Park Circular are similarly enjoyable. They both provide picturesque surroundings and tranquillity, something that is very common in this part of the world.
The 2023 Tourism Conference served as confirmation that the leaders of the region are serious about bringing more tourists to Armagh. With fresh initiatives and partnerships, combined with embracing new technology, we can look forward to a future where more and more people get to experience the region’s rich heritage.