Bellaghy Named ‘World Host Village’ October 28, 2016 Bellaghy has been named a ‘World Host’ village after 40 people from more than 20 local businesses completed a tailored customer service training programme. Food outlets, bars, restaurants, pharmacies and supermarkets all counted among the businesses which took part in the programme which aimed to see Bellaghy designated as a world host village to coincide with the opening of the £4.25M arts and literary centre, Seamus Heaney HomePlace. Training in all areas of customer service excellence, from creating a positive impression to demonstrating knowledge about and pride in the area and its attractions, was delivered in a programme developed by Mid Ulster District Council and funded by Tourism NI. Bellaghy is the location for HomePlace which opened on 30 September and celebrates the life and literature of the poet and Nobel Laureate who was one of Ireland’s greatest writers. Congratulating the businesses who gathered to receive their awards in HomePlace, Chair of the Council, Councillor Trevor Wilson, said: “The local business community has embraced the opportunity to enhance its level of customer service in anticipation of the increased numbers of visitors which we are now welcoming to Bellaghy. “Their foresight and enthusiasm is to be commended and I’m delighted that their sense of community spirit, as well as their recognition of the important role the play as part of the overall visitor experience, has been recognised with this designation. “Everyone involved should be pleased and proud”. Speaking about his staff’s enthusiasm for the project, local ‘Village Takeaway’ shop owner, Derek Buckley, who has recently refurbished his business and has seen additional footfall to the café since HomePlace opened, said: “My staff thoroughly enjoyed completing the WorldHost programme and learned a lot about the local area in the process. They deserve every credit for participating in the training and for their great customer service” Louise McKinstry, Industry Development Officer, Tourism NI commented; “Bellaghy Village is just one of four WorldHost Villages in Northern Ireland, the collaboration and partnership approach of local businesses alongside Mid Ulster Council has resulted in this prestigious award. “Seamus Heaney HomePlace presents a unique tourism offering for national and international visitors and Bellaghy Village is playing its part in the drive by our wider tourism sector to deliver world-class customer service and provide the right platform for quality visitor experiences, recommendations, repeat business and continued growth.” “Our tourism industry continues to go from strength to strength and by demonstrating a commitment to excellence in our hospitality, passenger travel and retail sectors we can ensure that tourism stands out as one of Northern Ireland’s biggest success stories.” For more information on the WorldHost programme in Northern Ireland please contact [email protected] Training for the WorldHost programme was facilitated by Siofra O’Reilly, SORT Training, Judith Boyle and Collette McCafferty.