Public views sought on 10-year plan for tourism in Fermanagh Lakelands and Omagh and the Sperrins

8th July 2022

Fermanagh Lakelands

A public consultation has opened on a new 10-year roadmap for tourism for the Fermanagh Lakelands and Omagh and the Sperrins.

The consultation on the draft Visitor Experience Development Plan (VEDP) for Fermanagh Lakelands and Omagh and the Sperrins opened on Friday 8 July 2022 and remains open for 12-weeks until 4pm, Friday 30 September. Consultation documents and opportunities to participate are available on the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council website.

The draft VEDP for Fermanagh Lakelands and Omagh and the Sperrins has been jointly funded and developed by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Tourism NI and Waterways Ireland following input from the public, private and community sectors.

The draft VEDP aims to reposition the Fermanagh Lakelands and Omagh and the Sperrins as world class regenerative tourism destinations, where visitors immerse themselves in its rich natural and cultural heritage, to the benefit of local communities, businesses and the environment.

In 2019, tourism contributed more than £79 million to the Fermanagh and Omagh district economy through overnight visitor spend – the fourth highest of all Council districts in Northern Ireland.

Speaking about the draft VEDP for Fermanagh Lakelands and Omagh and the Sperrins, Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Barry McElduff, said:

“The draft VEDP for Fermanagh Lakelands and for Omagh and the Sperrins recognises the tourism potential of the area and focuses on visitors and local people to support sustainable and thriving communities, spaces and places across the area.

The Council is pleased to have jointly worked with Tourism NI and Waterways Ireland to develop this draft 10-year plan for tourism for the district. We have reached this stage following a significant period of engagement with various stakeholders to develop a new tourism vision for the area for the benefit of all.

This consultation is an opportunity for all those with an interest to find out more about the plan and let us know whether there is anything else that should be considered before it is finalised.”

The draft VEDP sets out an ambitious framework and action plan to improve the tourism and visitor experience through sustainable and regenerative tourism. This involves getting people to stay longer when they visit, benefitting the local economy, communities and the environment.

Tourism NI’s Regional Manager, Martin Graham, stated:

“Tourism NI is pleased to collaborate with Fermanagh & Omagh District Council and Waterways Ireland on a new Visitor Experience Development Plan (VEDP) for Fermanagh Lakelands and Omagh and the Sperrins to act as a roadmap for tourism growth and delivery in this area.  It is recognised that tourism is an important sector for this council area in relation to visitor spend, business growth and jobs.  We are also aware that the depth and breadth of distinctive visitor experiences have the opportunity to encourage both domestic and international visitors to spend longer and contribute significantly to tourism revenue both locally and in Northern Ireland as a whole”.

Joe Gillespie, Regional Manager, Northern Region, Waterways Ireland said:

 “Waterways Ireland are delighted to reach this milestone in the delivery of the VEDP for the Fermanagh and Omagh region. Its successful delivery will support the creation of unforgettable holiday experiences that will benefit local businesses and communities in the Fermanagh Lakelands area.

The VEDP will provide a clear roadmap for future tourism investment that will transform the region to deliver a better spread of tourism and visitor activity within the region.”

The public consultation remains open until 4pm, Friday 30 September 2022. Further information on the consultation and how to share your views is available on the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council website at www.fermanaghomagh.com