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Peace Tourism Project looks back on a successful year

20 December 2018

As 2018 comes to a close Derry City and Strabane District Council area’s Peace Tourism project is celebrating a number of key achievements and looking ahead to some ambitious plans for the New Year.

The project is part of the Shared Spaces and Services priority area of the PEACE IV Programme funded by SEUPB, and was launched in December 2017. The key focus is on developing a bespoke ‘Peace Tourism’ experience to present the area’s shared history and the journey towards peace and reconciliation.

The project is a highlight of Council’s Tourism Strategy 2018–2025, which aims to enhance the City and District’s existing profile as an exciting visitor destination and is open to all stakeholders in the tourism industry locally.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Councillor John Boyle, said significant progress had already been made. “A lot of groundwork has already been completed in terms of bringing the relevant stakeholders together and beginning those important conversations about how we present the story of our place. Well done to all involved in the project, I look forward to seeing the development of an experience that will weave a compelling narrative reflecting all facets of our past and bringing our history to life.”

Linzi Simpson Council’s Peace Tourism Project Officer aims to co-ordinate the creation of these experiences, which will bring together the many local groups already working in this field.

“The project aims to pilot a ‘Peace Tourism’ experience suited to local, national and international visitor demand,” she explained.

“We have reached a number of key milestones in the first 12 months of the project having established a steering group made up of community and mainstream tourism providers and hosted a Dialogue Residential event in May to explore narrative and direction.

“The project’s first conference in September was hugely successful in developing dialogue and thinking around the shared programme and in engaging with the wider tourism sector.”

Other key milestones in the first year include the development of an animation programme, Walls Have Ears, which allowed visitors to explore the often contested stories on or around the walls.

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

It aims to provide a platform to tell the City and District’s story, in a similar manner to other historic destinations across the world where it has become an integral part of their tourism offering.

As work continues into 2019 key objectives include phase two of its animation programme around key shared spaces and places in parallel with the commemoration of the completion of Derry’s Walls – which next year sees their 400th Year Anniversary, further research into peace tourism product infrastructure and the development of a peace tourism coordinated experience.

The project will also be looking for community groups and after school groups to experience our varied peace and community tourism offering in the city and district.

If anyone would like any further information about the project or their organisation would like to become involved contact [email protected].