LOCAL BUSINESSES in the Upper Lough Erne area are combining to help sustain a tourism project that has help grow the industry in the area in the past two years.
Up to £20,000 has been given by businesses in and around the Lisnaskea area to help fund the Upper Lough Erne Tourism Development Association, based on the town’s main street.
And, without the support of local businesses, the project, which has brought about a range of events and tourism ideas to the county in the past 18 months – would be left in doubt.
“We approached the local businesses last year when the project had to achieve match funding as part of the funding package through SWARD,” explained tourism project officer Barry Flanagan.
“The local businesses were all very forthcoming and supportive of the project and gave what they could. We were delighted with that, that’s enabled us to keep going.”
And, because of the support of local businesses, the centre is aiming to continue with a range of events throughout this year.
Among these include the Upper Erne European Predator Challenge, a two day pike angling competition this year held at the Watermill Fishing Lodge; the return of Islander Festival, which is funding dependant; Kingfisher Challenge, launched to highlight the Kingfisher Trail to cyclists with the aim of bringing back the trail to a cycling tourism market; heritage lottery applications for heritage sites and events based around the upper lough; and the continuation of the visitor information office to provide information to visitors throughout the year.
Barry continued: “With this type of project there is never going to be an immediate pay off. It’s kind of always going to be a long term thing. Local businesses have supported the project in various ways, such as in-kind services, annual accounts, insurances and Glenn Charles of the Cherrytree Bakery kindly offered us our premises rent free.
“Four or five years down the line when you’ve established a good tourism group and brought new tourism projects to the area then that’s when it will really start to pay off.
“We will be going out to businesses again to see if they still want to support us – and we are also applying for funding – not only for tourism purposes but for rejuvenation of the town.
“And the other thing is, we want to apply or heritage funding – and we feel if we can get that we will secure our future for another year – so it’s all hands on deck for that funding,” he concluded.
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