North-south divide: the role of the border in tourism to Northern Ireland

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Using the case study of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, the following issues related to borders and tourism: attractivity and co-operation are addressed. Visitor data from 1994 to 1997, reveals that the border itself does not function as a tourist attraction, but rather there is sufficient attraction within what is identified in the paper as a border zone. Attention is given to examining heritage attractions (those receiving over 5000 per year, and those that are free) as the position taken in the paper is that heritage tourism best encapsulates the experience available to the visitor. Results show there to be no difference between attendance at attractions within the border zone and those outside it. The border is not key to influencing movement, but rather represents a barrier where tourism flows have been strongly influenced by the history of conflict that has characterized Northern Ireland over the last 30 years. Discussion is also presented on co-operation, particularly how the signing of the Good Friday peace Agreement (April 10, 1998) may create opportunities to develop formalized links with the Republic of Ireland, those specifically directed at tourism, helping to foster greater cross-border movement of visitors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-71
JournalVisions in Leisure and Business
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1999


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