A planned new visitor information point in the heart of Larne is aimed at boosting tourism, attracting more people into the town and enhancing the service for visitors and residents alike.
The centre, which is to be based in The Book Nook at Main Street, is part of the transformation of tourism services, led by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, and follows a review by global tourism experts.
The relocation of services are in line with international best practice, which show visitor information points should be situated in areas of higher footfall.
The changes – backed by Tourism Northern Ireland – are intended to grow the local economy through tourism.
They will also be beneficial to Larne residents, who will be able to pick up event tickets from The Book Nook.
The new location is also convenient to car parks, as well as train and bus stations.
Plans for the new visitor point in Larne were given the green light this week by Council.
Chair of Council’s Economic Growth and Tourism Committee, Alderman Gregg McKeen, said: “Our Council has an incredible tourism offering and we are committed to fully realising that potential.
“Excellent visitor information services, such as that earmarked for Larne, will play an important role in driving economic development and tourism and generating tourism footfall with the aim of getting visitors to stay longer and spend more.
“Our current visitor information centre is too costly and has been underused to date.
“By bringing it into the centre of the town, we make it much more accessible and also draw more visitors into Larne centre.
“We have also agreed longer opening hours – an extra 20 hours per week in total – meaning information is more readily available to guests from outside our area.
“The new centre is set to be based in The Book Nook, which already houses a Post Office, Bureau de Change, PayPoint, insurance and passport provision, a newsagents and gift shop.
“This is an excellent example of Council working hand in hand with local businesses to the advantage of all.
“The substantial savings will also mean we have a significant sum of money freed up which can be used for other services in our area.”
Elaine, Joanne and Stephen Liddle, proprietors of The Book Nook, said:
“We at The Book Nook and Larne Post Office are delighted to be able to accommodate the visitor information point in Larne town centre.
“As a family we have been in business for almost 100 years and we are passionate about showcasing Larne and the Mid and East Antrim area to visitors and locals alike.
“Our convenient Main Street site will work well for the visitor information point location, working hand in hand with the Post Office which offers lots of travel products including currency exchange.
“The Book Nook Team are looking forward to welcoming new visitors to the town and working with Mid and East Antrim Borough Council to make the new visitor information point a resounding success for the town, local residents and those visiting for the first time.”