We were appointed by Moyle District Council, as part of a team led by Derry based RPD Consulting, to provide a tourism development strategy and action plan. Moyle has a strong competitive advantage as it includes some of the most iconic tourist destinations on the island of Ireland, including the Giants Causeway, the Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge and Bushmills Distillery. It boasts breathtaking scenery with Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty status, a picturesque rural hinterland and villages. Moyle attracts the largest number of tourists in the Causeway Coast and Glens area with just over 3 million visitors in 2008 (almost 28% of the total number) spending £115.3 million.
Traditional approaches to tourism development often overlook the importance of the total experience of particular areas, favouring instead a heavily statistical approach or a one-dimensional methodology that focuses on small parts of the tourism spectrum.
Our starting point was that tourism development is no longer simply a case of increasing visitor numbers and footfall figures in particular locales. It is concerned with ensuring that the Council is able to improve opportunities for bringing direct economic and other benefits to local communities, raising awareness about important global environmental issues (particularly in the case of a World Heritage Site) and managing sensitive built and natural environments.
Also the Council can contribute in the widest sense to the future well-being of the area by nurturing local traditions and culture as well as being responsive to an ever more discerning traveller whose choices are increasingly boundless and whose tastes and expectations are ever more diverse and demanding.
The scope of the commission included research and audit, consultation, policy appraisal, activities and product review, funding appraisal, strategic theme development as well as management and implementation.