Belleek village gains unique world host status

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster with NITB director Susie McCullough, right, and  Aoife Rooney of the Lemon Tree coffee shop in Belleek which has been named Northern Ireland's first WorldHost Village
Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster with NITB director Susie McCullough, right, and Aoife Rooney of the Lemon Tree coffee shop in Belleek which has been named Northern Ireland's first WorldHost Village
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A Fermanagh village is showing the rest of the province the way when it comes to looking after visitors to the province.

Home to the internationally famous pottery, Belleek has been named as Northern Ireland’s first WorldHost Village made to towns or villages where at least 25 per cent of businesses have achieved WorldHost Recognition by delivering excellent customer service and which have trained 50 per cent or more of their front-line staff using any of the WorldHost training programmes.

Welcoming the announcement, Arlene Foster said: “Businesses in Belleek have rightly recognised the importance of customer service in shaping visitors’ experiences. Their achievement in attaining WorldHost Village status, the first in Northern Ireland, is a fitting acknowledgement of a collective commitment to enhance service standards.

“The WorldHost programme rightly recognises the role that customer care plays to tourism in Northern Ireland. The impression left by customer-facing staff goes a long way to ensuring that our visitors enjoy the best possible experience whilst here, which in turn helps generate future recommendations, repeat business and continued growth.”

Fermanagh pro-actively promotes and supports the WorldHost customer service initiative and is the only destination in Northern Ireland to have a comprehensive plan in place for all of its towns and villages in a bid to gain WorldHost Destination status.

“The customer service standards of businesses in Belleek have raised the bar for the tourism and hospitality sector throughout Northern Ireland and I would encourage other destinations to follow their example.”

Welcoming Belleek’s achievement, chairman of Fermanagh District Council, Bert Johnston said: “Ensuring that visitors receive a warm and personal welcome when visiting our county will only serve to strengthen the tourism offering in Fermanagh.”

Rolled out by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board in partnership with the sector skills council, People 1st, and the Department for Employment and Learning, the World Host Programme has so far helped more than 14,000 participants trained and 604 companies registered with the World Host Programme.