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DCSD Council launches Rural Tourism Trail to boost tourism sector

Derry City and Strabane District Council has launched an exciting Rural Tourism Experience programme aimed at helping rurally based tourism businesses to enhance their tourism offering.

The programme will encourage tourism providers to create new high-quality experiences and adapt their offering to reinvent themselves for future and long term sustainable growth, ultimately transforming the tourism sector as we know it. It will also allow them to adjust to new tourism climate as they recover from the pandemic stronger than before.

The Rural Experiences programme will recruit 12 rurally based businesses that are interested in developing a new, or enhancing an existing, tourism experience.  The programme will run from June to October and will offer practical and flexible support to the businesses.

The programme is free to participate on and is open to rurally based businesses who are committed to participate in all elements of the programme, that will be delivered online, including five skills based development workshops and 1.5-days of one to one mentoring. They must be located in the Derry City & Strabane District Council area and be committed to participate in the programme evaluation.

The programme has been part funded by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Cllr Brian Tierney welcoming the initiative and the focus on enhancing rural tourism across the Council area said: “This Council area is a key destination on the island of Ireland, offering world class visitor experiences. We are renowned throughout the world for our tourism product and our warm friendly welcome and it’s important we do all we can to enhance that offering, especially within the rural areas to ensure visitors are coming to all areas of the District.”

Minister Poots said: “This is a great scheme that I hope will help encourage tourists back into rural areas to see some of the fantastic tourism experiences we have to offer in Northern Ireland and to enjoy our wonderful natural landscape and scenery.”

Jennifer O’Donnell, Tourism Manager with Derry City and Strabane District Council said the timing of the initiative was extremely important in reaching out to tourism providers and offering them support and guidance as they work to recover from the impact of the pandemic on business.

She said: “The last 15-months have been devastating for local tourism businesses in the North West.  As a Council we recognised the need to develop a comprehensive support package to help with their recovery and are excited to launch this today.  The tailored package includes expert mentoring support to develop new experiences, digitization support and the chance to be included in a Rural Tourism Trail that will be promoted on an Ireland wide marketing campaign.”

If you are a rurally based business that is interested in developing, or enhancing a tourism experience and are interested in applying please visit;

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/DCSDCRuralTourismExperiences to complete the short expression of interest.  Deadline for applications is 5.00pm 11th June.