Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Cabbies called in drive to promote Belfast art

Belfast's taxi drivers are being given tours of local galleries in an effort to boost arts tourism in the city.

The idea follows the launch of a new guide earlier this week which provides information on Belfast's many public and private galleries and street artworks.

The 32-page colour book has been produced by Belfast City Council as part of its cultural tourism strategy.

According to figures from the council, around 6.4 million people visited Belfast in 2005, generating over £285m for the local economy.

"It is therefore vital that we promote the rich and diverse artistic background and the explosion of contemporary artistic talent that we have in the city as part of our overall tourism strategy," said Councillor Diane Dodds, who chairs the council's Tourism and Promotion of Belfast Sub-Committee.

The free guide will be distributed at hotels, bars and restaurants across the city, but those behind it are particularly keen to target those who play a key role in dealing with tourists during their visits.

"We have been encouraging those involved in visitor servicing, including front-of-house staff, tour guides and taxi drivers, to familiarise themselves with some of the city's galleries and studios," said the council's cultural tourism officer Carolyn Mathers.

"We have organised gallery tours with introductions from curators, giving an opportunity to see artists as they create their work. We hope our new guide will enhance people's enjoyment of Belfast and encourage them to explore our vibrant art scene."

The Belfast Art Guide is available from the Belfast Welcome Centre by calling 9024 6609 or can be downloaded from www.gotobelfast.com

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