Extending the marketing reach of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the slow adventure tourism sector within the rural Derry City & Strabane District.
The programme was funded by the INTERREG Northern Periphery & Arctic Programme and involved development and piloting of new marketing and clustering models for SMEs in the slow adventure tourism sector in order to extend visitor stays and attract new customers. The project aimed to help SMEs in the tourism sector through development of i) new marketing approaches and ii) more effective business generation through
clustering or ‘co-operative working’.

Specifically, the project tested new marketing and clustering models to:
• Regionally cluster slow adventure SMEs together and develop common values.
• Target high-value customers, and enable longer operating seasons.
• Trans-nationally cluster slow adventure SMEs together, harnessing the shared characteristics of the places and environments in which they operate, with appropriate joint branding measures.

Resources needed

External services required – website development, branding guidelines & market research in partnership with private sector partners. Development of new marketing and clustering models based on holistic vertical value chain clusters and also clustering based on target markets.
Project budget €150k

Evidence of success

Derry City & Strabane District Council developed 10 new ‘Slow Adventure’ visitor packages in partnership with 13 SME local tourism businesses which provide experiences that now allow visitors to enjoy remote, wild and nature-rich places. A dedicated brand and website was developed to market and promote these packages. http://www.slowadventureni.com/

Difficulties encountered

Despite developing a transnational cluster the project needed to develop a coherent campaign to tie together this cluster & reach the slow adventure consumer, or the effort would remain a by-product with limited results for SMEs involved. A transnational marketing campaign was therefore developed.

Potential for learning or transfer

New marketing models were developed during the project that enabled SMEs to more effectively market their services. Due to the increasing popularity of social media, SMEs were trained in how to use digital marketing to promote their services. Through collaboration, businesses have been able to develop new products which increased their competitiveness. Partners developed a guide for SMEs to show them how to create and narrate their slow adventure tourism products.

Collaborative products developed by SMEs consisting of several operators, multiple activities and from various tourism sub-sectors have the potential to reach a much wider market. The transnational cluster is also a clear way of bringing value to the slow adventure brand and product on a regional and international platform. All partners have worked to develop a transnational network of slow adventure tourism providers, who share common values.
Main institution
Derry City & Strabane District Council
Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
Start Date
January 2015
End Date
December 2018


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