The North West Region Cross Border Group completed a programme of consultation with key stakeholders from the North West Region comprising local authorities and statutory agencies to identify and prioritise a tourism development investment programme for the Region – to form the basis of a bid for INTERREG IVA Programme funding under Priority 1.2, Tourism, for the 2008 to 2013 period.
The consultation process included discussion workshops, the circulation of draft papers to the Group for comment, and written submissions made to the NWRCBG.
The focus of the proposed tourism investment programme was to develop the tourism infrastructure, product and services to support the attraction of visitors, to enhance the visitor experience and support and influence visitor dispersal and movement throughout the Region – to generate real and sustainable social and economic benefits.
The importance of tourism investment and appropriate intervention in the North West Region can be attributed to its relative remoteness and access and infrastructure difficulties (and deficit), but also due to the need to ensure that product and service development and the visitor experience are compatible and commensurate with the area’s sensitive environment, culture, heritage and history.
This tourism investment programme is multi-dimensional in its context, strategic focus and composition and includes due diligence and reference to e.g. spatial planning, public policy, regional and national development, strategic tourism planning, access and infrastructure, tourism product and service development and visitor management, marketing, promotion and communications, tourism enterprise and business development, capacity building and skills enhancement, physical and intellectual access, product and quality and service delivery, and management and operations. These elements are pre-requisites to sustaining competitive advantage and success and are an intrinsic feature of the proposed programmes and activities.