‘New £2.3million tourism centre will boost economy’
Environment Minister Edwin Poots has helped to officially open a new £2.3million visitor centre at the edge of Lough Neagh that will be a ‘Gateway’ to new tourism facilities.
Part-funded by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) the Gateway Centre at Lough Road, Antrim offers a great base for cycling and canoeing activities as well as new restaurant and terrace, tourism information, exhibition space telling the story of Lough Neagh and showering facilities. The Centre is also the home of Lough Neagh Rescue.
“I recognise the importance of tourism to our rural communities and economy so I am delighted that we have invested £0.5million from our Rural Tourism Scheme into the Gateway Centre at Lough Neagh, which provides an interactive space telling not only the story of the lough but also providing a focal point for tourists to plan their visit,” said Minister Poots during a visit to the centre which is also home to the Lough Neagh Rescue.
“I believe that investing in tourism projects in rural areas, will enable not only linkages to be made to other local attractions, but also the development of ‘tourism corridors’, which will encourage and increase visitor footfall from tourism hotspots into the great rural outdoors.
“It is clear from my visit here today, that the creation of visitor experiences showcasing our natural landscape and that are compelling and accessible to all, can offer long term sustainability and growth for rural tourism in Northern Ireland. I wish this project every success going forward,” added Minister Poots who officially opened the centre along with Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Jim Montgomery.
“This project will generate significant economic and tourism benefits for Lough Neagh and its surrounding areas. I would like to take this opportunity to thank DAERA, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Lough Neagh Landscape Partnership for the support they have provided for this much needed facility,” said Councillor Montgomery.