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Reeks District launches new branding and website

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Kerry’s Reeks District – selected as one of the top places in the world to visit by Rough Guides in 2019 – has launched its next step for increasing visitor numbers to the region with new branding, a new website and new photography.

The website is much expanded from the region’s previous online presence and showcases the Reeks District’s amazing natural amenities from MacGillycuddy’s Reeks to the Blue Flag beaches of Inch and Rossbeigh, as well as amazing things to see and do in the region.

It also gives local businesses the tools to market themselves to a wider audience under the umbrella of the ultimate Reeks District guide. The web solution is based on a new trend in the tourism industry where travel booking engines are bypassed by locals coming together to create booking and enquiry systems with great functionality and a sleek user interface, but without fees being paid to a third, private party.

Photography for the project was undertaken by a group of landscape, architecture, interior and fashion photographers. The shoot took place over more than 30 locations across 10 days and the photographers were briefed to show the Reeks District exactly as it is, in its full glory, regardless of rainy days and stormy winds. ‘Models’ for the shoot were local enthusiasts, passionate about the activities they partake in.

The launch, which also sees a rebranding of the Reeks District’s Visitor Centre in Killorglin’s Library Place and a new visitor map, is part of a three-year project that began in 2021 and is aimed at radically increasing the Reeks District’s tourism market share and providing long-term sustainable growth, particular in the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn.

As a not-for-profit organisation, funding for the three-year improved marketing drive has come from a number of sources, including membership subscriptions. In 2021, 20-plus local business owners came together to help the programme, providing investment that will total some €500,000 by the end of this initial three-year project in 2024. Funding from other sources, including the Department of Rural and Community Development, LEADER, Kerry County Council and Failte Ireland have also been secured.The project is also supported by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection and sponsored by Killorglin Community Council.

Tourism is seen as a valuable area of growth for the Reeks District. Like many other regions, visitor numbers suffered during the Covid-19 crisis and the new marketing efforts will help build on the pre-pandemic success of the region following its 2018 re-brand from Mid Kerry.

“The new branding and website provide the next chapter in Reeks District’s development and is aimed at solidifying and improving our position as an emerging destination and one of Ireland’s best-kept secrets, providing sustainable tourism growth particularly in the shoulder seasons," Chair of the Reeks District, Jens Bachem, said.

“With phase one of our three-year plan now reaching completion, we can move onto our second and third phases that include further product development, search engine optimisation, event activation, communications and additional content. Internally our aims are to foster increased cooperation between our members via sharing of resources, knowledge and best practice, so we can continue to improve tourism revenue over the coming years.”

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Killarney hotels are still open for business

By Sean Moriarty Only a few of the town’s 37 hotels are homing displaced people – according to Bernadette Randles, chair of the Kerry branch of the Irish Hotel Federation. […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Only a few of the town’s 37 hotels are homing displaced people – according to Bernadette Randles, chair of the Kerry branch of the Irish Hotel Federation.

This week she said that there’s still accommodation to be found in Killarney for visitors.

She was speaking in relation to the current accommodation situation facing International Protection Applicants and Ukrainian war refugees.

She explained that there is a perception that Killarney has taken in too many refugees and that it is putting the tourism industry at risk as people are starting to think that the town is at full capacity.

“If you can’t get a room in Killarney there is something wrong,” she said. “Maybe with the exception of New Year’s Eve.”

She added that hotels that are providing emergency accommodation are helping off-season unemployment.

Many hotels remain in survival mode after two years of pandemic turmoil and the additional off season business is important, she explained.

“Many could be closed at this time of the year, others would not be operating at full capacity,” she added.

However, she warned the Government needs to put a plan in place before the tourism season starts next year. Some hotels offering emergency accommodation either have a three or six month contract.

“I can see there will be tears next April – the Government must have a long-term plan,” she said.

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Homing refugees worth almost €14m

By Sean Moriarty Hotels, B&Bs and other accommodation suppliers in the Killarney area have secured contracts in excess of €13 million to accommodate Ukraine war refugees. The Department of Children, […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Hotels, B&Bs and other accommodation suppliers in the Killarney area have secured contracts in excess of €13 million to accommodate Ukraine war refugees.

The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth released figures to the Killarney Advertiser.

Documents show that contracts totalling €13,852,255.00 are being shared between 13 premises in the Killarney urban area.

However, the department warned these figures are “indicative” only and the full value of the contracts depends on “occupancy and actual usage”.

The Eviston Hotel has secured a contract worth €5,727,590.00, the Innisfallen Hotel in Fossa for €2,404,620.00 and The Hotel Killarney signed a deal worth €1,701,000.00. These are the three biggest contracts published in the documentation.

This is only the tip of the iceberg, and Department officials say more contracts could come on stream. Figures seen by the Killarney Advertiser only cover contracted premises up to the end of September this year and updated figures are only released every three months.

“We are in contract with far more, but the formal exchange of contracts can take place sometime after the service commences,” a department spokesperson told the Killarney Advertiser.

“The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth is obliged to publish a list of contracts formally signed off each quarter that have been awarded under a special EU Derogation that permits the Department to enter into contracts in the context of the Ukraine accommodation crisis without going to formal tender.

“The values of the contracts shown are estimates; the actual value materialises upon occupancy and actual usage. Standard contracts have no-fault break clauses available to both parties so again, the figures are indicative rather than actual.”

These figures only cover Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war and do not include International Protection Applicants.

The Department refused to release International Protection Applicant figures to the Killarney Advertiser.

“The International Protection Applicant accommodation contract information is commercially sensitive information and is not available,” added the Department spokesperson.

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