Heritage tourism in Northern Ireland: opportunity under peace

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42 Citations (Scopus)


Having endured terrorist violence for 30 years, Northern Ireland is on the verge of achieving a lasting peace. Tourism is well poised to benefit from the prospects of peace and the economic growth that is anticipated to follow. In this paper the first section, based on an analysis of secondary tourism data collected between 1994 and 1997 (a period during which the Irish Republican Army declared two cease-fires), assesses the extent to which tourism can benefit within a climate of peace. Heritage tourism within Northern Ireland is examined, on the basis that the majority of tourist attractions and the tourism experiences being sold to visitors fall under the heritage label. Heritage and heritage tourism is discussed within the Northern Ireland context. The second half of the paper examines what are emerging as the key challenges and issues facing the tourism industry in Northern Ireland and the opportunities for long-term growth. The paper reveals that tourism benefited for the yearsin which a cease-fire held, but that the heritage attraction is somewhat complex, with a range of heritage types ranging from natural to industrial. Discussion centres on how this 'heritage' experience is to be planned and managed, and the challenge of ensuring sustainability of a product that has the support of both 'communities' in Northern Ireland.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-174
JournalCurrent Issues in Tourism
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2000


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