The development of mooring facilities along the River Foyle is expected to significantly enhance tourism opportunities in the Londonderry area.
Under a £1 million project, a new cruise ship quay and pontoon have been constructed in order to create a marine event platform. The project was supported by funds from the European Regional Development Fund, whilst the Loughs Agency was a lead partner in an INTERREG IVA Programme that secured the funding. The Port of Londonderry was the project partner and will be responsible for the construction, operation and long-term maintenance of the development.
Andrew Sides, Loughs Agency, commented:
“The idea is that the large pontoon will act as a platform – a stage, if you like – for events and festivals with a maritime theme, including boat rallies and regattas.
“This is a very important project for the community. The river has been underused in terms of water-based leisure and tourism, so the new pontoon and cruise ship quay will add to a necklace of infrastructure along the River Foyle – in turn helping the city to realise its potential for marine tourism.
“As a result, the project is also important for the business sector and all of the agencies that are interested in developing the city. I would like to take this opportunity to thank contractors McLaughlin & Harvey, pontoon manufacturers Inland & Coastal Marina Systems and the Central Procurement Directorate (CPD) for all of their hard work.”
Port Harbour master, Bill McCann, added:
“This is a positive step forward towards harnessing the potential of the River Foyle for tourism and commerce. The new cruise ship quay at Meadowbank, together with the new pontoon, adds significantly to the marine facilities that we offer on the Foyle, which is particularly important with the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race calling at Derry in 2012.”
Shaun Henry from the Special EU Programmes Body, said:
“This project will allow the local tourism sector to draw on the natural environment of the region and its natural tourism resources. This is likely to attract a higher number of domestic and overseas visitors, contributing to improving the performance of the overall tourism industry, one of the key priorities of the INTERREG IVA Programme. By increasing the offer for high quality marine facilities in the area, it also builds on the strong cultural and economic linkages that exist between western Scotland, Northern Ireland and the west coast of Ireland, where marine tourism is a sector in expansion.”