THE campsite at the redeveloped Loughshore Park has proved a resounding hit with local people and tourists alike, according to Newtownabbey Council.
One year on from the £1.5million refurbishment of the park, the local authority has revealed that more people than expected are using the new caravan park and campsite.
At last week’s Development Committee meeting (Tuesday, May 15), councillors were informed that there were 516 bookings for 988 nights at the Shore Road site, bringing in an income of over £15,000.
In the tourist facility’s first year council officials had estimated an income of £14,000.
In all, over 1,300 people visited the campsite, with the majority coming from the UK. However, a number of visitors travelled from as far away as Canada and South Africa.
Chair of the Development Committee, councillor Pamela Barr said: “I am delighted with the figures for the caravan park and really encouraged that the feedback from users has been positive, highlighting the high standard of comfort and attention to detail.
“The diversity of visitors using the park highlights the good reputation our borough has and how attractive it has become for an ever increasing number of visitors from far and wide.
“This in turn will hopefully begin to benefit our local businesses which is also very important. I hope the caravan park will continue to flourish and be a positive experience for all.”
Vice-Chair of the Development Committee, councillor Ken Robinson - himself an avid camper - said he was delighted with the success of the site in its first year.
“Many years ago I identified the Loughshore Park as a good site for camping,” he said.
“As an avid camper myself, you look for a site outside of the main cities and with good transport links.
“Loughshore is an ideal setting and with such a fantastic view it is bound to attract people.”
The majority of bookings (44.8 per cent) were for caravans, while 38.7 per cent were for motorhomes and 16.5 per cent were for people in tents.
Councillor Robinson added: “I was particularly pleased we were able to accommodate a tent site. I remember a number of years ago we were able to find a site in Belfast for two bedraggled Dutch travellers who thought they could pitch up in the Loughshore, so it is good that the facilities are available now.
“In the camping community people rely a lot on word of mouth - I have done it myself when I have been away - and I have no doubt Loughshore will continue to grow and attract more visitors.
“The campsite, along with the cafe and the playground, make it the perfect site for tourists.”