Northern Ireland economy minister Diane Dodds and agriculture minster Edwin Poots have launched a new Tourism NI programme designed to help tourism experience providers enhance their websites.
The aim of the new programme, through which capital grants of up to £40,000 are available, is to help businesses that provide tourism experiences market and sell their services online.
"More Of A Core Requirement"
Tourism NI's website quotes Dodds as saying, "Online promotion and bookability were increasingly becoming a prerequisite prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as a result of restrictions brought in to safe guard people, the use of digital channels to promote organisations has now become more of a core requirement in the tourism industry.
"The Website Development Programme is open to tourism experience providers and attractions, and will help to provide technical advice to enhance websites and produce a website development plan. The fund also allows for up to 80% funding towards eligible costs of implementing those plans, with the maximum amount of grant funding available for any one project of £40,000."
"What Tourists Want"
Meanwhile, Poots commented, "With its natural beauty, heritage sites, tourism experiences and visitor destinations, Northern Ireland's rural areas have much to offer visitors and tourists. We do, however, need to make sure people are aware of what is out there, and online marketing helps to showcase the many and varied tourism businesses in rural settings, and enhanced online capabilities will allow tourist providers to take bookings instantaneously, which is what tourists want.
"This programme will also help businesses to make the most of their online presence, enhancing systems and offering new tools to help to improve their business. This programme will provide new confidence and trust in the sector to enable it to grow stronger and better with sustainability at its core."
Tourism NI director of product development Rosemarie McHugh added, "We are delighted to launch a new website development programme at a critical period for many tourism businesses across Northern Ireland. The programme will help create positive first impressions and an improved booking experience, in line with the new 'Northern Ireland - Embrace A Giant Spirit' experience brand.
"The fund will cover a wide range of support to improve digital presence and help deliver increased bookings and revenue for tourism businesses."
Full details of eligibility criteria and how to apply for the programme can be found on Tourism NI's website.
The closing time for applications is 3pm on August 21.
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