draft Visitor Experience Development Plan (VEDP) for Fermanagh Lakelands and Omagh and the Sperrins – Public consultation

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Tourism NI and Waterways Ireland have jointly funded and developed a draft Visitor Experience Development Plan (VEDP) for Fermanagh Lakelands and Omagh and the Sperrins.

Public consultation on the draft Fermanagh and Omagh VEDP opened on 8 July 2022 and remains open until 4pm, Friday 30 September 2022.

Please click on the links below to find out more.

1. Welcome and Introduction

Thank you for your interest in the Visitor Experience Development Plan (VEDP) for Fermanagh Lakelands and Omagh and the Sperrins.

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 engagement with representatives from the public, private and community and voluntary sectors.

The draft VEDP for Fermanagh Lakelands and Omagh and the Sperrins is a 10-year roadmap for tourism across the area i.e. the ‘Fermanagh Lakelands’ and ‘Omagh and the Sperrins’ visitor destinations.

It recognises the tourism potential of the district and aims to improve the tourism and visitor experience for the benefit of our visitors, local communities, businesses and the environment.

A key focus of the draft VEDP for Fermanagh Lakelands and Omagh and the Sperrins is to develop sustainable and regenerative tourism so that people stay longer when they visit, benefitting the local economy, communities and the environment.

We welcome feedback on the draft VEDP. Your views and comments will let us know if there is anything else we should consider and will help to shape the final version of the plan.

Consultation opened on 8 July 2022 and remains open until 4pm, Friday 30 September 2022.

2. Summary version of the draft VEDP

A summary of the draft VEDP is available to view below.

What is the draft Visitor Experience Development Plan (VEDP)?
The draft Visitor Experience Development Plan is a 10-year roadmap to improving tourism and the visitor experience across our visitor destinations of ‘Fermanagh Lakelands’ and ‘Omagh and the Sperrins’.

It has been developed with a focus on visitors and on local people to support sustainable and thriving communities, spaces and places across Fermanagh and Omagh by getting people to stay longer when they visit and promoting slow and considerate travel.

Who developed the draft VEDP?
The draft Fermanagh and Omagh Visitor Experience Development Plan (VEDP) has been jointly funded and developed by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Tourism NI and Waterways Ireland following a period of engagement with public sector bodies, Councils neighbouring the Fermanagh and Omagh area, local businesses and community representatives.

What is sustainable or regenerative tourism?
The UN Environment Program and UN World Tourism Organization defines sustainable tourism as “tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities”.

Regenerative tourism goes further than this. Its aim is that visitors have a positive impact on their host destination, its communities and the environment; leaving it in a better condition than how they found it.

What does the VEDP hope to achieve?
The Vision of the VEDP is that ‘Fermanagh and Omagh will be 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 and communities are supported through inclusive collaboration.’

It aims to:

  • Develop a new way of thinking about tourism
  • Understand our visitors and deliver quality experiences
  • Provide a collective vision for the place with a clearly defined roadmap for collaborative implementation
  • Support and enable collaborative working for the good of the area and its communities
  • Embrace new climate and environmental agendas
  • Tell our authentic stories through our cultural and natural heritage
  • Enhance our resilience and get creative in a changing funding landscape
  • Ensure that our destination is applying sustainable practices

How does the draft VEDP hope to do this?
The draft VEDP aims to improve the tourism and visitor experience within Fermanagh and Omagh through a number of areas:

1. Focus on regenerative tourism
Taking a regenerative approach will include:

  • A connected destination approach
  • Highlighting the role and importance of local communities
  • Being responsive to market conditions, trends and needs
  • A common vision and shared purpose that all key stakeholders can embrace and own
  • The importance of good stewardship – protecting the environment, landscapes and communities
  • Facilitating innovative approaches and collaborative working
  • Facilitating regular review and open discussions and adjust strategies as required

You can read more about these areas for regenerative tourism here.

2.Experience Development
A focus on experience development within the following areas:

  • Agri-food tourism
  • Stories & legends
  • Become a temporary local
  • Unexplored corners
  • Fuzzy boundaries
  • Connecting to this place
  • Responsible tourism
  • Wellbeing at heart

You can read more about these areas for experience development here.

3.Action plan
The action plan details key actions to bring the VEDP to life. It focuses on a number of key areas:

  • Governance & management of implementation
  • Developing a clear and consistent message
  • Enabling industry
  • Enhancing the visitor experience
  • Enabling a sustainable future
  • Enabling insights and intelligence

Successful implementation of the action plan will require resources and commitment from various stakeholders from the public, private and community and voluntary sector.

You can view the full action plan here. 

Why should I get involved in the consultation? What does the VEDP mean to me?
Tourism is a key economic driver within the Fermanagh and Omagh area, accounting for 9% of local employment.

In 2019, there were more than 1.2m overnight visits to the Fermanagh and Omagh area, with an overnight visitor spend of £79m – the 4th highest in Northern Ireland (after Belfast City, Causeway Coast and Glens and Newry, Mourne and Down).

Tourism has been increasing in the district over the last number of years and there is an opportunity for continued sustainable growth.

Adopting a sustainable and regenerative approach to tourism and visitor experience development presents a real opportunity to harness this opportunity for growth for the benefit of our visitors, local people, places and spaces.

Your feedback will let us know if there is anything else we need to consider and will be used to help shape the final version of the plan.

Who will take forward the VEDP?
The draft VEDP provides a common vision for Fermanagh and Omagh that all key stakeholders can embrace and be a part of.

The successful delivery of the VEDP will require a strategic and collaborative approach between the public, private and community sectors to achieve its vision and outcomes for the area.

While Fermanagh and Omagh District Council will lead the management and facilitation of the collaborative approach, all stakeholders – public, private and community – will play their part in delivery of the VEDP.

What happens next?
Consultation on the draft VEDP is open until 4pm, Friday 30 September 2022.

All feedback and responses will be reviewed and considered once the consultation has closed.

A consultation report will be prepared and presented to Fermanagh and Omagh District Council in the autumn including any recommended amendments or updates to the draft VEDP following the consultation exercise.

An update in relation to the consultation and the final VEDP will be shared with all those who participated in the consultation on the draft VEDP (where contact details have been provided). The update will also be made publicly available via the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council website.

 

 

 

 

3. Full version of the draft VEDP

The full version of the Fermanagh and Omagh VEDP is available to download here. 

4. Consultation calendar - how to participate

There are a number of ways to participate in the consultation process.

8 Jul – 30 Sept
Online survey – complete now

25 Jul, 7pm
Industry briefing at the Broadmeadow Room, Fermanagh House, Broadmeadow Place, Enniskillen, BT74 7HR
To register your attendance please email tourismdevelopment@fermanaghomagh.com by 4pm, Friday 22 July 2022.

26 Jul, 7pm
Industry briefing at the Training Room, The Grange, Mountjoy Road, Lisnamallard, Omagh, BT79 7BL
To register your attendance please email tourismdevelopment@fermanaghomagh.com by 4pm, Friday 22 July 2022.

28 Jul, 8am
Online Industry briefing via Webex
To register your attendance please email tourismdevelopment@fermanaghomagh.com by 4pm, Friday 22 July 2022.

8 Jul – 30 Sept
Information stand and online or hard copy survey available to complete during normal opening hours at the following Fermanagh and Omagh District Council venues:

  • Connect Centres, East Bridge Street, Enniskillen and High Street, Omagh
  • Fermanagh Lakeland Forum, Enniskillen
  • Bawnacre Centre, Irvinestown
  • Castle Park Leisure Centre, Lisnaskea
  • Omagh Leisure Complex
  • Visitor Information Centres at Enniskillen Castle & Strule Arts Centre, Omagh
  • Marble Arch Caves, Florencecourt
  • The Ardhowen, Enniskillen
  • West End Community Centre, Enniskillen
  • CKS, Strathroy, Hospital Road Community Centres, Omagh

2 & 3 Aug
Information stand and online or hard copy survey available to complete during normal opening hours at Fermanagh and Omagh District Council stand at Fermanagh County Show, Enniskillen.

5 Sept, 3pm
Virtual focus group for statutory and non-statutory stakeholders.

8 Sept, 9am-5pm
Drop in information session at Connect Centre, Strule House, 16 High Street, Omagh

8 Sept, 7pm-9pm
Drop in information session at Strule Arts Centre, cafe area, Omagh

9 Sept, 2pm
Virtual focus group for statutory and non-statutory stakeholders.

14 Sept, 9am-5pm
Drop in information session at Connect Centre, County Buildings, East Bridge Street, Enniskillen

14 Sept, 7pm-9pm
Drop in information session at The Ardhowen, main reception area, Enniskillen

16 Sept, 2pm
Virtual focus group for Fermanagh and Omagh District Council staff.

 

 

5. Online survey

To complete the online survey please click here. 

The survey remains open until 4pm, Friday 30 September 2022.

6. Next steps

Consultation on the draft VEDP for Fermanagh Lakelands and Omagh and the Sperrins is open until 4pm, Friday 30 September 2022.

All feedback and responses will be reviewed and considered once the consultation has closed.

A consultation report will be prepared and presented to Fermanagh and Omagh District Council in the autumn including any recommended amendments or updates to the draft VEDP following the consultation exercise.

An update in relation to the consultation and the final VEDP will also be shared with all those who participated in the consultation on the draft VEDP (where contact details have been provided). The update will also be made publicly available via the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council website.

 

7. Where to find out more

To find out more about the draft VEDP and consultation please contact Fermanagh and Omagh District Council’s tourism team by emailing tourismdevelopment@fermanaghomagh.com or telephone 0300 303 1777, Monday – Friday, 9am-5pm.