The tourism economy for the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council is worth a staggering £110 million to the areas.
That was the message from Tourism Manager Peter Thompson to members of the new Council’s Leisure and Development Committee last Tuesday.
The Committee approved a Tourism and Destination Management Strategy for the council area.
Mr Thompson told the Committee that the tourism industry is worth £110 million to the area with one in 12 jobs connected to tourism. 64% of visits to the area are from the domestic market which highlights the high dependency in the area on Northern Ireland visitors.
The average spend is £47 per night compared to Scotland where the overnight spend is £68.
Mr. Thompson added there is a need to deliver an experience to tourists and the importance of attracting visitors from outside Northern Ireland. If the gap in the overnight expenditure was closed it would be worth £48 million to the economy.
Mr. Thompson added that there is huge potential to highlight the fantastic food in the area and work is currently taking place with the Causeway Food cluster to build on this.
Councillor Trevor Clarke commended Mr Thompson on the excellent work that has been done and added that ‘Food Tourism’ could be highlighted especially as 2016 is the Year of Food in Northern Ireland. He proposed the Strategy for approval, seconded by Councillor Maura Hickey.