Tourism Minister Arlene Foster has welcomed Prime Minister David Cameron to the Giant’s Causeway.
Speaking after accompanying David Cameron during a tour of the new visitors’ centre yesterday (Wednesday), the Minister said: “With the Olympics in full swing in London, it is pleasing that David Cameron took the time to come to Northern Ireland and see our newest ‘gold’ standard visitor attraction for himself.
“The Giant’s Causeway visitors’ centre is a significant milestone on our journey towards a vibrant and sustainable tourism industry. The visitor experience is the jewel in the crown of the Causeway Coast & Glens Tourism Area Plan, which aims to bring more visitors to this breathtaking part of Northern Ireland and give them more to see and do while they are here.”
Welcoming news that over 85,000 people have been to the visitors’ centre in its first four weeks, Arlene Foster said: “With an average of over 20,000 people per week through the doors to date, the visitors’ centre is already proving to be a huge draw for tourists from home and abroad.
“The images broadcast when the Olympic Torch Relay stopped here recently reinforced that the Giant’s Causeway is one of the great landmarks of Northern Ireland, one with virtually instant international recognition. The centre will now allow us to tell the stories behind the iconic images to many more thousands of visitors in the years to come.”
Arlene Foster added: “With the hugely successful Irish Open in June and Titanic Belfast exceeding all expectations with regard to visitor numbers, the opening of this new visitors’ centre reiterates that Northern Ireland can deliver a tourism experience that can stand with the best in the world.”
Funding for the project, one of Northern Ireland’s key signature projects, has been provided through four main sources: £6.125million part financed by the European Regional Development Fund, £3.125million from NITB, £3million from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and £6.25million from the National Trust.