Country Park among NI’s top attractions yet again
ROE Valley Country Park in Limavady has yet again been attracting more visitors than major tourist attractions such as Londonderry’s historic walls, Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge or the W5 centre in Belfast.
This is according to the results of the most recent Northern Ireland Visitor Attraction Survey, published earlier this year.
In February, the Sentinel revealed that the Roe Valley Country Park had been out-performing better known tourist attractions for a number of years, and that it had been appearing in the top ten most visited destinations in Northern Ireland every year since 2006.
A further survey has since been published, conducted by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, with the Roe Valley Country Park again coming out well ahead of better funded and perhaps more well known attractions such as the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum.
Visitor numbers to the Country Park, with its historic buildings such as the first hydro-electric turbine in Ireland and works associated with Ireland’s once booming flax industry, exceeded a quarter of a million, according to the survey.
Across Northern Ireland, country parks and forests were the most visited attractions, with even the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre being out-performed in terms of visitor numbers by a host of country parks and forests.
It is estimated that around 14 per cent of all visitors to country parks and forests in Northern Ireland were made by ‘out-of-state’ visitors. While the Roe Valley Country Park might be attracting higher numbers of over-all visitors than more famous historic attractions such as walls in Londonderry, the proportion of people coming from outside Northern Ireland is likely to be lower.
For historic attractions such as the walls in Londonderry, the proportion of ‘out-of-state’ visitors was estimated by the Northern Ireland Visitor Attraction Survey to be around 50 per cent.
Speaking to the Sentinel earlier this year about number of visitors to the walls in Londonderry, Karen Henderson from the Derry Visitor and Convention Bureau said: “Obviously, when we are selling the city as a destination, we place a great deal of emphasis on the Walls. We are the only city in Ireland with complete walls and one of the very few in the United Kingdom.
“The Walls act as a promenade to showcase the entire city, all within one mile. We are hoping that the numbers of people will grow, with the £3million renovation of St.Columb’s Cathedral, which attracts 100,000 visitors alone. The numbers if treats that are on the walls is astounding. I go on the guided tours quite often, yet every time I learn something new about the city.
“I know that the RoeValley Country Park gets a lot of domestic visitors, whereas for the Derry figures we have a lot of national and international visitors.
“Visitors to the Tourist Information Centre come from all over the world. The figures for January to December 2011 showthat 83 per cent of our visitors come from outside Northern Ireland.
“Of that total, we have 21 per cent coming from NorthAmerica, 28 per cent from Europe and 12 per cent from Britain.
“Derry is obviously a very cultural city in comparison with Belfast, with the cannons, the murals and everything else.”
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Weather for Londonderry
Tuesday 18 June 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 19 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 10 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: West