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Conference to focus on exploring concept of Peace Tourism

29 August 2018

A special conference will be held next month to explore how the Derry City and Strabane Council area could benefit from developing a new ‘Peace Tourism’ programme to promote the shared history of the City and District.

The project is part of the Shared Spaces and Services priority area of the PEACE IV Programme and is included in the DCSDC Tourism Strategy 2017–2025. It aims to bring together PUL, CNR, BME community tourism, cultural and historical tourism, wider tourism and specialist facilitators in the good relations field to produce, pilot and promote a ‘Peace Tourism’ package suited to local, national and international demand.

The conference, which takes place at Magee Campus on September 13, will encourage local organisations and groups from both sides of the community to begin the dialogue about creating a product which will enhance the overall tourism offering of the region, and set the ball rolling in terms of developing an action plan.

Speaking ahead of the conference, Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Councillor John Boyle explained that the conference will centre around a range of themes. “The idea of Peace Tourism is a compelling one which will offer the opportunity for us to present our story in a new and authentic way. While we have had a troubled past, the lessons from that time and the message of hope in our long journey to peace should be documented and shared.

“I would really encourage any organization involved in the tourism sector to go along to the conference and explore how Peace Tourism can be developed to add to the appeal and interest of the area for visitors, and how collaborative packages can be developed. Having just recently published the new tourism strategy for the North West this is an exciting move in keeping with the ambition to tap into our unique heritage and culture, including the recent narrative of conflict, civil rights and peace building.”

The conference will look at a variety of areas such as the presentation of challenging and difficult historical periods in museums and related sites, comparative international practice, as well as ethics and ethical guidelines.

Speakers at the event will include academics and leading tourism figures including Professors Elizabeth Crooke and Stephen Boyd from Ulster University, Karen Logan, National Museums, NI, Paul Mullen from the Heritage Lottery Fund and representatives from local community tourism initiatives.

Tourism Manager with Derry City and Strabane District Council, Jennifer O’Donnell, said the event would provide a useful forum for discussion. “We hope the event will raise awareness among the public, private and civil sector of the Peace Tourism offer within the Council area,” she explained.

“We believe locally there’s a lot to visit, dialogue around and share. Many local groups already work in this field – tourist providers, community tourism projects, diversity groups and good relations facilitators. 

“With clear strategic co-ordination and promotion it could potentially bring a good sustainable income stream from across Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and wider afield – and maximise the learning from local diversity and peace-building.

“The conference will provide a platform for productive discussions between different stakeholders on how to bring this type of tourism together in collaborative packages and to create an action plan on how peace tourism can be developed further to attract more visitors and maximise their potential to create sustainability.”

The Peace IV Tourism Project is about offering the opportunity for all relevant local providers to work together in a cross-community way.

Among the objectives of the project is allowing the DCSDC area to position itself as a place for community, local, regional and international field trips, residential and training/awareness experiences for the benefit of dialogue and peacebuilding. 

To register for the event visit www.derrystrabane.com/tourism