Derry City and Strabane District Council are taking part in plans to promote the local coastline and establish a yacht cruising route around the western coast of Ireland.

The plans are making real progress, members of the Cool Route steering group heard last week at a special meeting in Cork.

The Cool Route Project – Cruising Oceans on Latitudes above 51 Degrees North – investigates all aspects of the potential to establish a yacht cruising route along the western offshore areas of the Northern Periphery Area.

Cool Route Project Partners, including Derry City and Strabane District Council and Donegal County Council, met up with stakeholders from local enterprises along the planned cruising route to discuss packages and opportunities for local businesses. The event was hosted by project lead partner Cork Institute of Technology.

The Cool Route Cruising Ground, described in the International Yachting Press as the World’s Most Adventurous Cruising Ground, is one of the most attractive coastlines globally and stretches from Cork to Western and Northern Ireland, on to Western Scotland and then to the Faroe Islands and to Tromso, in Western Norway.

Head of Culture with Derry City and Strabane District Council, Aeidin McCarter, said the project will have widespread benefits for local business. “The primary objective of the Cool Route project is to bring new business opportunities to a wide range of small local enterprises that provide quality goods and services. It offers support in terms of international marketing opportunities and providing a common branding, booking and information system.

“It’s a fantastic ecotourism product, exploiting the natural resources of the area in a manner that is sustainable and environmentally viable, which is ideal for both Derry and Donegal with its rich marine environment and beautiful coastal locations.”

Speaking at the meeting Cool Route Project Manager, Dr Breda Kenny, Head of the CIT Hincks Centre for Entrepreneurship Excellence, said the project was at a very important stage and it was vital to review all project work-packages and to look at the future actions and the realisation and commercialisation of the route.

Over the coming months, before the completion of the project, Cool Route will further engage with SME’s along the route and in particular the agreed selected stopovers to maximise the potential for local businesses in each unique region. Local enterprises and businesses are being encouraged to register now while there’s still time.

The self-registration process is free, fast and simple to complete in a few minutes (www.sailcoolroute.eu) and includes automatic mapping of location, details of products and services and a direct link to each business or community website.

For more information on the Cool Route Project, its reports and findings please check out the website on www.sailcoolroute.eu

The Cool Route Project is funded by the Interreg VB Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme. You can follow the project on www.facebook.com/eucoolroute and Twitter #eucoolroute

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