Group pictured at the announcement of the commencement of work on the new offices of Visit Derry at Waterloo Place
Derry City and Strabane District Council has appointed contractors to carry out refurbishment works on the proposed new visitor information centre at Waterloo Place.
The works will comprise a full fit-out of the internal commercial unit on the ground floor units.
Welcoming the announcement, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Michaela Boyle, said it was “fantastic news” for the city and region.
She said: “We are delighted that contractors have been appointed for this hugely important tourism capital project and welcome the fact that they will be on site as soon as possible.
“The relocation of the Visit Derry Information Centre from Foyle Street right into the heart of the city centre and adjacent to the famous, historic walls, is a significant project for Council and its partners that will greatly benefit our tourism business and domestic and overseas visitors.
“The designs for this are really very impressive and when completed will be world class.
“This project will enhance the entire Waterloo Place area of the city and bring new life and activity into a key retail area in the city centre. The Council strongly believes that the new location will be popular with tourists as Guildhall Square and Waterloo Place is a central hub for visitors to the city and that it will greatly help retailers and local businesses in that area of the city centre.”
Rosemarie McHugh, product development drector, Tourism NI, said the centre was a “significant” project for tourism in the city.
She added: “We are delighted to support it. Since hosting the UK City of Culture in 2013, overnight trips in the city have increased by almost a third with visitor spend growing by one-fifth and the appeal of Derry~Londonderry as an international visitor destination continues to grow.
“The new visitor centre will provide an interactive experience with enhanced digital offering and combined with the new central location, this will allow visitors to easily access information on everything the city has to offer.”
Paul McNaught, from the Department for Communities, said: “The Department is pleased to provide funding to facilitate the relocation of the Visit Derry Information Centre to a more central location within the city centre.
“The new premises will transform the visitor experience providing an attractive and accessible facility that will leave a lasting and positive impression of what the city and region has to offer.
“The project is the latest in the Department’s portfolio that will, in partnership with Council and other stakeholders, breathe new life into our city centre.”
Since 2016, Visit Derry has been operating its marketing and administrative functions from the Waterloo Place building. When this work is completed the remaining front of house tourist staff will relocate from Foyle Street to the newly refurbished Waterloo Place location.
Funding for the project has been provided by Tourism NI, the Department for Communities and Derry City and Strabane District Council. Construction work is commencing with a view to being completed in the spring so that it can be open to the public by May 2020.
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