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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 April, 2004, 10:12 GMT 11:12 UK
Tourism jobs boost predicted
The Causeway is the province's only World Heritage Site
More than 3,000 jobs could be created in tourism along Northern Ireland's north coast according to new report.

The government has launched what it called a masterplan for the area of the Causeway coast on Wednesday.

It hopes it will help to turn it into an attraction to match the Ring of Kerry in the Republic of Ireland.

The government has pinpointed a number of potentially big attractions.

As a first step towards improving the infrastructure, it has earmarked 5.5m for immediate improvements - with a total of almost 50m to be spent over the next ten years.

This plan will spread tourism right through the region, rather than just the honeypot of the Giant's Causeway
Don Wilmont
Tourism manager
The Giant's Causeway on the north Antrim coast is Northern Ireland's only World Heritage Site.

The causeway is one of Northern Ireland's top tourist attractions.

Don Wilmont, manager of the Causeway Coast and Glens Regional Tourism organisation, said the initiative would benefit the wider area.

"This plan will spread tourism right through the region, rather than just the honeypot of the Giant's Causeway," he said.

"It's a range of developments to spread business, and to lengthen the stay of visitors to the area."

According to the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, nearly two million tourists visited the province during 2003, an increase of 11% on the previous year.




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC NI business editor James Kerr
"A quiet summer on the streets remains the most important influence on the tourism sector's prospects"


Politicians and tourism officials
give their reaction to the initiative


BBC NI's James Kerr:
"The causeway is one of Northern Ireland's top tourist attractions"



SEE ALSO:
Antrim coast regeneration plan
14 Apr 03  |  Northern Ireland
Council retains control of Causeway
07 Feb 02  |  Northern Ireland
Council to decide on Causeway's future
05 Feb 02  |  Northern Ireland
Giant's Causeway plan scrapped
05 Dec 01  |  Northern Ireland


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