Luxurious castle retreat in Fermanagh builds towards export growth

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster today announced an investment by Belle Isle Castle in Fermanagh, which will increase business from international markets, with help from Invest Northern Ireland.

The Fermanagh company’s 435 acre estate in Upper Lough Erne encompasses a 17th century castle with guesthouse accommodation, self-catering cottages, a cookery school and a working farm.

Invest Northern Ireland support is helping Belle Isle to attract visitors and business tourists seeking a luxury rural setting for meetings or leisure pursuits. In order to increase customer numbers and revenue potential, en-suite bathrooms have been added to seven rooms along with a new guest room. Target markets include the US, Germany and the Republic of Ireland.

The business has also upgraded its website and introduced a new online booking facility to help drive sales. In addition, Belle Isle will appoint a new business development consultant in the US to focus on building the company’s profile and customer base in that market.

Arlene Foster said: “Belle Isle is a unique business with a diverse range of products to attract both visitors and business tourists. This is an important investment for the company as it seeks to increase its competitiveness and achieve profitable growth in export markets.

“By upgrading the castle’s facilities and installing an online booking system, the firm hopes to secure business from new market sectors. Its plan to employ a dedicated resource to develop the US market will support Belle Isle’s extensive sales and marketing activities.”

Charles Plunket of Belle Isle Ltd, added: “Invest NI support combined with additional advice and guidance from Tourism Ireland and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board has helped Belle Isle to welcome visitors from both North America and throughout Europe over the past 12 months.

“This new investment forms part of our strategy to increase revenue across all areas of the business and boost our overall performance. We have enhanced our product offering with support from Invest NI, which will help to further increase bookings from international tourists and in particular the high value corporate market."

“In the months ahead, the contacts and business relationships we will gain through our US business development consultant will be of great benefit to the company as we work towards maximising sales opportunities outside Northern Ireland.”