North coast set for major tourism boost – Foster

Tourism Minister, Arlene Foster has welcomed the National Trust’s commitment to try and open the Giant’s Causeway Visitor’s Centre in time for the Irish Open.

Arlene Foster said: “The summer is set to be an exciting time for the North Coast. We have secured the Irish Open at Royal Portrush for the first time in almost 60 years and at the same time, the multi-million Giant’s Causeway Visitors Centre will be opening its doors.

“While the official opening date is 2 July 2012, I understand that the National Trust is hopeful to open in time to allow golf tourists the chance to see inside their fantastic new visitors centre.

“It is vital that we give tourists more opportunities to stay longer and find out more about Northern Ireland’s unique landscape - this would be an amazing opportunity to showcase the new centre to visitors from all over the world.”

The Minister concluded: “Over recent months progress at the site has been incredible. I would like to pay tribute to the National Trust and the many individuals that they are working with in order to pull out the stops and bring the opening date forward in time for Irish Open at Portrush.”

The Irish Open will be staged at the Royal Portrush Golf Course, from 28 June – 1 July inclusive. It last hosted the tournament in 1947. The last time the tournament was held in Northern Ireland was in 1953, when Belvoir Park Golf Club staged the event.

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, through the Northern Ireland Tourist Board committed £9.25million toward the provision of the new facilities. This contribution is part funded by the European Union’s Competitiveness Programme.