Launch of Visitor Experience Development Plan brings promising future for local tourism sector.

22nd June 2023


Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, in collaboration with Tourism NI and Waterways Ireland, is proud to announce the official launch of the Visitor Experience Development Plan (VEDP) for Fermanagh Lakelands & Omagh and The Sperrins.

Fermanagh and Omagh’s outstanding natural and cultural heritage, its recreational trails and water and boating experiences are at the heart of the district and its tourism appeal.  The VEDP aims to enhance local tourism and elevate the visitor experience across the region with a people and community centred approach, delivering on a strategic vision for the next ten years.

In March 2023, the VEDP Delivery Partnership met for the first time and has been tasked with taking the plan forward. The partnership includes representation from Tourism Ireland, Fáilte Ireland, DAERA, Cuilcagh Lakelands Geopark, and Department for Communities, Fermanagh Lakeland Tourism, Loughs Agency, National Trust, South West College, Sperrins Partnership Project, National Museums NI and Invest NI.

The official launch of the VEDP signifies a significant milestone as it transitions from a conceptual framework to an actionable plan. With a strong emphasis on regenerative approaches and sustainable growth in the tourism sector, the plan has garnered positive support, creating an environment conducive to achieving its ambitious goals.

At the launch event, a diverse array of attendees, including representatives from public bodies, industry stakeholders, local communities, and leaders in sustainable practices, showcased their collective commitment to collaborating towards the realisation of the VEDP’s vision. This unified front of enthusiastic participants stands poised to work hand-in-hand, propelling the plan forward and transforming it into a tangible reality.

Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Thomas O Reilly commented:  

“We want Fermanagh and Omagh to be globally recognised as an exemplar regenerative tourism destination; a place where visitors become temporary locals, immersed in our rich natural and cultural heritage, and where local people, communities and businesses are supported through inclusive growth and collaboration.

We want our visitors to really get to know the people, the stories, the myths and legends of our place, to just put their feet up and meet a friendly face at the end of the day.  We not only want visitors to have an authentic, local experience but also to know that their stay will have a positive impact on the place they are visiting.”

Ciaran Doherty, Head of Regions, Tourism Northern Ireland added:

“Tourism NI were delighted to team up with Fermanagh and Omagh District Council and Waterways Ireland to fund and support the new VEDP for Fermanagh Lakelands & Omagh and The Sperrins.

We’re excited to work with this partnership and local industry to make the plan a reality. Regenerative tourism will be a core aspect of Northern Ireland’s new tourism strategy, and Fermanagh and Omagh are paving the way in this area”.

Garret McGrath, Regional Manager, Waterways Ireland explained:  

“Emphasising sustainable practices, the VEDP encourages tourism businesses to offer authentic, local experiences and eco-friendly options, ensuring a positive impact on the region while nurturing the intangible elements of tourism, the things that make it special and unique. Waterways Ireland is delighted to support this development and is committed to the work of the VEDP Delivery Partnership to make the plan a reality”.

>> For more information on the VEDP for Fermanagh Lakelands & Omagh and The Sperrins,

please click here to view it. <<