Carrickfergus Enterprise has invested £20,000 in the launch of an innovative digital initiative to connect tourism businesses in the area more closely with visitors. Visitors will be able to create their own itemised journey experience while also choosing the most optimal route.

‘Experience Northern Ireland’ is an exciting concept digitalising the visitor experience as they journey around the province. This new digital platform connects local businesses and popular and less known tourist attractions with a state-of-the-art route planner.

Companies within the tourism industry including hotels, restaurants, attractions and experiences can register to the platform to be listed alongside local landmarks, increasing their visibility and creating a journey plan for the tourist.

By subscribing to the platform, it provides local businesses with an affordable alternative. Many local businesses depend on general booking websites to secure reservations from tourists visiting Northern Ireland. These companies often require expensive subscriptions and hidden commission fees but businesses feel there is no alternative.

This digital initiative is driven by a local social enterprise for the benefit of local businesses, and will provide an affordable subscription that directs the user to the business website for information or to book directly.

Bill Adamson, Chairman of Carrickfergus Enterprise, said: “Northern Irish tourism has an immense amount to offer, from The Gobbins to the Giant’s Causeway. We’re passionate about showcasing that offering by connecting the visitors with the local Northern Ireland experience.

“The route planner aspect educates visitors and enhances their experience by making the most out of their journey. We are joining the dots between restaurants, attractions and hotels to ensure our visitors experience the ‘magic’ of Northern Ireland in every element of their journey.”

Kelli Bagchus, Manager of Carrickfergus Enterprise, said:  “So far we’ve had a 100% success rate with local companies subscribing to the platform, demonstrating the need for a local alternative and the important value it will add to their work.

“Following the success of the Coastal Tourism Hub launched by Carrickfergus Enterprise, we’ve come to recognise the importance of highlighting these companies in the tourism sector. We hope to connect tourists to local businesses through an ‘Experience Northern Ireland’ app which will launch in the upcoming months.”