Newcastle Information Centre Celebrates 25 Years of Welcoming Visitors
Newcastle Visitor Information Centre (VIC) celebrated its 25th anniversary on Friday 31 May with the Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Charlie Casey, along with senior council and Tourism NI officials and representatives from the local tourism industry.
The Information Centre was officially opened on 24 May 1994 by the local MP at the time, Eddie McGrady. The Centre was established with funding from Down District Council and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and was one of a network of Tourist Information Centres throughout Northern Ireland.
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairman, Councillor Charlie Casey said, “I am delighted to celebrate this important milestone for the Newcastle Visitor Information Centre. Newcastle is rightly one of our premier resorts and it is important to mark such an occasion.
“Over the years of its operation there have been many changes, both for staff and in the way that we help our many visitors. Technology has made a huge difference —our visitors are now able to make better preparations before visiting the area with a list of things to do and see prepared before their arrival. However, those who do come to the VIC say that they are encouraged to see more, do more and stay longer after speaking with a Visitor Services Advisor. Learning about the area from someone who has first-hand knowledge really makes a difference on how to get the most out of a visit.
“I look forward to Newcastle Visitor Information Centre continuing its excellent work, helping visitors to have ‘epic’ experiences and supporting the Council in its ambition to make Newry, Mourne and Down one of the premier tourism destinations in Ireland.”
Chief Executive of Tourism NI, John McGrillen said, “Our research emphatically points to the positive role that Visitor Information staff play in creating an excellent visitor experience. The friendly welcome and local knowledge provided by Visitor Information staff was the highest ranking score in our recently published Visitor Attitudes Survey findings.”
During the 25 years of business, staff in the Visitor Information Centre have dealt with over 1,250,000 visitors, from countries across the globe including Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Holland, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, Spain and the United States of America.
While technology now means that most reservations for accommodation are made online, the VIC still has an important role to play as hotel and accommodation providers keep staff informed about any cancellations and vacancies that may arise, allowing them to advise visitors accordingly. Besides providing information and advice, the centre also acts as a shopfront for the region’s many craft producers, helping local artisans and enriching the visitor experience.
Over the years the Newcastle Visitor Information Centre has won many awards, including the British Airways Tourism Information Centre of the year and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board Reservations Award.
The Centre has frequently been nominated for Best Tourist Information Centre in the Travel and Tourism Awards. In addition, the Visitor Information Centre has held the prestigious Charter Mark and is currently certified as a Silver Status, Green Tourism Business and all staff are Worldhost trained.Back