Craigavon Area Plan 2010
Policy Framework: Tourism
Tourism in Craigavon Borough is based on its easily accessible location in the heart of Northern Ireland, its natural land and water-based assets, its heritage features and the contribution of purpose-built attractions. The Borough offers a range of active and passive places of interest and things to do with a combination of the old and the new. Lough Neagh and the River Bann are the Borough's main natural assets. Access to the Lough has been enhanced, by the Borough Council, at Oxford Island with the well-designed Discovery Centre, and at Maghery, where the Borough Council has developed a Country Park. Close to Oxford Island, Kinnego Marina is popular for water sports, whilst fishing is a traditional pastime around Lough Neagh, the River Bann and the Blackwater. The Craigavon lakes offer 69 hectares of natural environment close to the urban area, and the Craigavon Golf & Ski Centre is unique in Northern Ireland. The tourism potential of the Borough is further enhanced by an extensive network of cycleways, the National Cycle Network and the Ulster Way.
The Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) estimates that in 2001 Craigavon Borough's share of the overall tourism market of Northern Ireland was 2% (approximately £7 million). Tourism can provide a number of economic and social benefits and whilst there is potential for future growth of this sector within Craigavon Borough, this should not be at the expense of its environmental assets. This is in line with the approach of NITB outlined in its document "Tourism in Northern Ireland - A Sustainable Approach" . This sets out the principles of sustainable tourism that will be applied by the Tourist Board in assessing proposals for tourism development throughout Northern Ireland.
Regional Policy Context
One of the key roles of the Regional Development Strategy (RDS) is to provide the spatial framework to accommodate changing tourism and leisure habits, whilst conserving the key assets of the natural and built environment.
The RDS provides the following Strategic Planning Guidelines:
- to promote a sustainable approach to the provision of tourism infrastructure;
- to establish a world wide image for Northern Ireland, based on positive images of progress, and attractive places to visit;
- to protect and enhance a varied range of tourism development opportunities; and
- to identify Major Tourism Development Opportunities for the Private Sector to Develop "Destination Resort" complexes in Northern Ireland, based on distinctive Tourism Themes.
The Department's regional planning policies for tourism in Craigavon Borough are currently set out in A Planning Strategy for Rural Northern Ireland. This contains policies for tourism development, tourism accommodation and the protection of tourism assets. It also addresses caravan and camping sites and advance directional signs.
The South Lake Zone is zoned to provide an attractive location for tourism, cultural, community, civic and recreational schemes to enhance the role and image of the central area and provide facilities for Borough residents and visitors. It occupies a prestigious location on the shores of Craigavon South Lake, with good communications links to the rest of the Borough and beyond. This is an ideal location to contribute to the tourism potential of the Borough. The landscape setting will require a high standard of design from development proposals.