Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, risks losing out on a huge source of income if campervan and motorhome tourists don’t feel welcome in the town, Donegal County Council has been told.
While Donegal County Council does not own or operate campsites they have five service points for campervans located in Buncrana, Carndonagh, Magherroarty, Falcarragh and Maghery.
All of which benefit from tourists in their vans parking up and spending money in their bars, restaurants and shops.
Aaron Elliott, who recently stood in the local elections, said: “This was an issue that came up with a couple of people during the recent election.
“Campervan tourists are part of clubs who meet up and travelling around together staying in different areas.
“A common theme was the lack of provision of facilities in Enniskillen.
“They were very keen to make the point that basically, they go everywhere else where they can be accommodated.
“As such, those towns that they visit benefit from them going into restaurants, bars and shops and spending their money there.
“Whereas with Enniskillen, that’s not a possibility.
“So say there’s five to 10 campervans who visit the town, intending to stay for a weekend, and that each one has three or four people in them.
“A restaurant bill for four people could easily come close to £100.
“Now multiply that by how many campervan occupants there are in total that weekend.
“You just don’t know what potential revenues could be created that would benefit the local economy.”
Elliott admits to being surprised that Enniskillen makes no provision for campervans.
He said: “I suppose it does surprise me given the potential financial boost they could bring.
“You see it happening in other areas such as Donegal and also the north coast around Portrush and Portstewart.
“It could prove to be a good revenue stream for the Council – especially when you see cuts happening because of how tight the current financial pressures are.
“An additional revenue like that could be very welcome for them.
“When they drive through, they’ll obviously be going to other sites and areas – maybe up near Kesh.
“But there’s no central venue such as, for example, the Round-O or the Forum as they would be a few minutes walk to the town centre.
“If they’re based further afield, they might be less inclined to travel into Enniskillen – especially if parking their campervan in town is going to be a problem.
“People with those campervan groups have told me that amongst their community, there is a black mark against Enniskillen and is seen as not being welcoming towards them.”