General Industry

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council Hosts Tourism Summit

By Dave Simpson
Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council Hosts Tourism Summit

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council hosted a tourism summit this week to discuss the opportunities, prevailing and emerging challenges and future investment within the sector.


The conference, which took place at Elmfield House in Gilford, included contributions from ABC Council chief executive Roger Wilson, Tourism Northern Ireland chief executive John McGrillen, Shane Clarke, director of corporate services, policy & Northern Ireland at Tourism Ireland, and David Browne, executive director of Linen Mill Studios and the Game of Thrones Studio Tour, as well as Elmfield Estate director Jane Shaw.

The conference, which was the first to take place in person since 2019, addressed how the local tourism and hospitality sector has been emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated challenges, including the impact of rising costs and skills shortages, as well as new and emerging growth opportunities.

The local tourism sector has experienced significant growth and investment since the inaugural tourism conference was launched in 2017, which, with the support of a busy year-round calendar of festivals and events, cultural and heritage assets, and a thriving hospitality industry, helped to promote the borough as a compelling visitor destination.

The tourism conference was compered by former broadcaster and journalist Karen Patterson.



Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Cllr Paul Greenfield said, "Successful tourism growth provides a major catalyst for economic growth, regeneration and wider investment, creating sustainable jobs and promoting civic pride in an area renowned for its beauty, thriving towns and cities, deep history and rich heritage.

"Though challenges remain, I'm confident that with commitment, collaboration and sustainable innovation, we can continue to increase our growing tourism impact on a national and international level for the benefit of everyone and I’m grateful to those who took part in our future-focused industry discussions that will help in driving us ambitiously forward together."

Tourism Northern Ireland chief executive John McGrillen said, "The tourism and hospitality industry in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon continues to demonstrate great resilience, commitment and sheer hard work in raising its local, national and international profile as it seeks to tackle the new and emerging challenges which undoubtedly exist.

"Through close collaboration and further investment in marketing and skills, I'm confident that there are many new opportunities to be seized in the months and years ahead. I was grateful to attend and to meet more of my tourism colleagues at Elmfield Estate and look forward to making an even bigger impact together."

Shane Clarke, Tourism Ireland's director of corporate services, policy & Northern Ireland, said, "Tourism Ireland has a major role to play in driving visitor demand to the local area. We are working hard to ensure that Northern Ireland, and its cities and towns, are front-of-mind for prospective visitors in our main overseas markets - including GB, mainland Europe and North America - as they consider their future travel plans and choice of destination.


"Armagh City, Banbridge, Craigavon and the wider borough offers our overseas visitors a wide range of compelling reasons to visit - from the historic, Georgian city of Armagh and its rich orchard countryside - to superb food, hospitality and events, as well as the new world-class attraction that is the Game of Thrones Studio Tour.

"I'm delighted to have attended this year's tourism conference to discuss our exciting current and future plans to grow overseas tourism with all our local tourism partners and stakeholders."

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