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New project to develop Slow Adventure in North West

09 September 2015

Local companies are being invited to become part of a unique new tourism support programme aimed at developing the concept of ‘Slow Adventure’ here in the district. 

The Slow Adventure in the Northern Territories - or SAINT Programme – is a three year programme being run by Derry City and Strabane District Council with support from The Northern Periphery and Arctic 2014-2020 under the EU Programme for Promoting Entrepreneurship to realise the Potential of the Programmes Areas Competitive Advantage, and follows on the highly successful Rural Development Programme which ran from 2012 – June 2015. A special launch event will take place on Wednesday 16th September at 1.45pm in the City Hotel.

Derry City and Strabane District is partnered with six other areas in delivering this project – Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Highlands of Scotland and Leitrim. Slow adventure is a form of tourism which favours slow, immersive journeys through our landscape, culture and heritage. This includes wild food, wild life, comfort in the outdoors and enhanced engagement with place. The project in Derry and Strabane will specifically focus on Slow Food, landscape and archeological features as well as the canoe trail from Strabane.

The SAINT Programme will offer small to medium tourism businesses in the Derry and Strabane District support in terms of developing their business through helping them extend their market reach and learn from international best practice. 

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Councillor Elisha McCallion, urged businesses to sign up for the programme at a forthcoming launch event taking place in the City Hotel on September 16th.
“This is an exciting new initiative which will offer small to medium sized businesses the opportunity to avail of practical information about slow tourism by tapping into the expertise of companies in destinations across the world.
“By learning from these experiences and developing some of our own unique attractions we have the opportunity to improve the tourism offering of the entire region. I would really encourage local businesses to go along to the City Hotel and find out how they can benefit by engaging with the programme.”

The SAINT programme aims to create a series of best practice case studies and develop a slow adventure strategy for the region by working with a number of partner agencies. Project organiser and Tourism Officer with the Council, Mark Blake explains: “By taking a collaborative approach to local tourism we will benefit from the lessons learned in other key tourist destinations, and likewise we can share our own experiences to the benefit of other locations. The development of the concept of slow adventure in the region offers an alternative to the conventional visitor experience. We are offering to support companies interested in tapping into this market and creating new and immersive ways of exploring our stunning landscape, our heritage and our culture. As our new council area is now 38% rural, this Slow Adventure project capitalizes on some of our key assets.” 

Among the key aims of the programme is the establishment of a canoe trail from Derry- Strabane, as well as a series of archaeological and historic landscape tours exploring and celebrating the natural environment. Another strong focus will be the development of Slow Food and foraging, working with local chefs and restaurants to source the homegrown produce and products unique to the region with a view to introducing a slow food kitemark on local menus.

For more information on the project visit – www.saintproject.eu or to register for this event please contact Jennifer O Donnell, Rural Tourism Officer, Derry City & Strabane District Council - [email protected] or 028 71 253 253.

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