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Upbeat tourism sector reports business sentiment at ‘Celtic Tiger’ levels

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CEO of Failte Ireland Shaun Quinn and chairman Michael Cawley. Picture: Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography

ACCORDING to Fáilte Ireland’s latest Barometer Survey business sentiment across the tourism sector is now at levels not seen since the Celtic Tiger and expectations for the 2016 season are very upbeat with strong growth projected across all parts of the industry.
Irish tourism is now well placed to deliver significant employment and foreign earnings growth to 2020 and beyond provided we maintain competitiveness and sustain investment in the new portfolio of tourism brands now coming to market. This was the key message delivered this week at Fáilte Ireland’s Annual Tourism Industry Review.
The recent upturn in tourism fortunes, although very welcome, has been fuelled largely by factors external to the tourism industry. Improving economies of key source markets, favourable exchange rates and increased air access all contributed to making 2015 a record year. To build on this initial success, the next phase of growth must be driven by factors from within the sector including; sustaining better value for money and offering more compelling and authentic branded visitor experiences rather than relying on a hazy green image and warm welcome.
With recent Fáilte Ireland branding initiatives just entering the market (The Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s Ancient East and Dublin – a Breath of fresh Air), it is expected that two key objectives of Fáilte Ireland can be achieved: significant growth in visitors can be secured across all regions with targeted marketing of specific consumer segments; and the tourism season can also be lengthened – significantly boosting visitor numbers and revenue. Optimism for the years ahead, however, needs to be tempered by the fact that challenges remain in the sector.
Speaking at the briefing in Fáilte Ireland’s HQ, chairman Michael Cawley said: “In 2015, driven by benign external factors and competitiveness at home, we experienced a record year for overseas visitors. However, I believe that further growth is yet to come as we deploy our new brand offerings to greater effect in helping Ireland to become more compelling as a holiday destination within an intensely competitive marketplace.
“The Wild Atlantic Way has been a great success locally but its impact internationally remains quite modest. If awareness levels across key markets are increased appreciably over the next few years, then the true potential of the Wild Atlantic Way as a driver of tourism growth to the West of Ireland will be realised. Similarly, our Ireland’s Ancient East brand is only taxiing up the runway and it too can, and will, deliver game-changing growth for the East, Midlands and South. Thirdly, in the Capital, there is considerable potential to sustain tourism growth provided we can successfully reposition the city and county as a more vibrant destination with our new Dublin brand.”
To underscore his point, Mr Cawley highlighted the recent consumer research commissioned by Fáilte Ireland which indicates that, currently, awareness of key Irish visitor attractions is much lower than many commentators might expect. Not surprisingly, this research also confirmed the very low levels of awareness and understanding of Ireland’s experience brands. However, when respondents were made aware of what these brands offered, they reacted very positively.
Mr Cawley added: “We know, for example, that the Wild Atlantic Way is a fantastic tourism proposition but has low international recognition at this point. When we survey potential overseas visitors, most are unaware of the new initiative. However, when they are told about what is on offer, the response is phenomenal. Clearly, as we build awareness, the Wild Atlantic Way is going to make a significant and transformative impact in the West.” Fáilte Ireland will be investing over €100m in capital funding over the next five years to support visitor experiences and services.

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Green light for teen accommodation

By Michelle Crean  Plans for sheltered accommodation to house homeless teenagers in foster care have been given the go ahead. An Bord Pleanala has approved a three-storey building in Flemings Lane just off High Street, which will have eight bedrooms, two one bedroom apartments and one two bedroom apartment. The teens living within the premises […]

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By Michelle Crean
 

Plans for sheltered accommodation to house homeless teenagers in foster care have been given the go ahead.

An Bord Pleanala has approved a three-storey building in Flemings Lane just off High Street, which will have eight bedrooms, two one bedroom apartments and one two bedroom apartment.

The teens living within the premises will be supervised by applicant Eileen O’Brien who will live on the ground floor of the premises.

The two one-bed apartments on the second floor would either be rented out or used for independent living for the teenagers as they reach adulthood.

The two-bed apartment will be on the third floor. There are also plans for balconies at second and third floor levels.

The proposed apartment building is contemporary in design with a mix of stone and render finish on the lower floors and synthetic burned timber finish on the upper floors. The second floor is recessed at the front and the third floor is recessed at the front and the rear with a decorative feature on the front elevation comprising dark grey timber steel poles. The building will also have a flat roof.

Planning permission was granted subject to 14 conditions including a two-metre high boundary wall to be constructed on south, south-western boundaries of the site and there’s to be no overnight commercial guest accommodation.

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Fans return to Fitzgerald Stadium after eight months

By Sean Moriarty Officials from Fitzgerald Stadium remain hopeful that crowd capacity at the venue can be increased to 500 spectators in time for the Munster final on July 25 – subject to both national health guidelines and Kerry qualifying for the game. Last Saturday evening’s National League semi-final between Kerry and Tyrone was the […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Officials from Fitzgerald Stadium remain hopeful that crowd capacity at the venue can be increased to 500 spectators in time for the Munster final on July 25 – subject to both national health guidelines and Kerry qualifying for the game.

Last Saturday evening’s National League semi-final between Kerry and Tyrone was the first game at the stadium since the 2020 Kerry Petroleum Intermediate Club Football Championship Quarter-Final when Glenbeigh-Glencar played Beaufort on October 4 last year.

Due to current restrictions only 200 fans were allowed attend Saturday’s big match. That will remain in place for Kerry’s opening Munster Championship tie with Clare on June 26.

“It had been more than eight months since Fitzgerald Stadium welcomed back fans to the venue,” stadium PRO Tatyana McGough told the Killarney Advertiser. “Everything went exceptionally well.”

She is hopeful that more restrictions will be eased on July 5, paving the way for an increase in capacity to 500 fans in time for the July 25 Munster Final.

“It is likely that from July 5 up to 500 spectators may be permitted to attend games. We hope this number will increase for the Munster Final. If it is a Cork versus Kerry Munster Final the game will be fixed for Sunday July 25 at 4pm in the Fitzgerald Stadium. The stadium’s staff are very confident in being able to host any number of fans that may be allowed.”

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Garda appeal to park legally at beaches and public amenities

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An Garda Siochana is appealing to the public to park legally in designated car parks and spaces when visiting beaches, beauty spots and other public amenities. 

The good weather has seen an increase in dangerous illegal parking at these locations across the country in recent weeks. An Garda Siochana wants people to enjoy the summer but do so safely.

Parking illegally can lead to unnecessary risk and dangers such as pedestrians being forced to walk along dangerous roads. It can also prevent emergency services from gaining access to these amenities a seaside locations which could lead to the loss of life. 

“We encourage the public to plan their journeys and think safety first when parking your vehicle,” the Gardai said in a statement. 

“The outcome of parking illegally could be far more serious than a FCPN or vehicle towing and puts others and your own life at risk. 

An Garda Siochana reminds and encourages the public to social distance and follow public health guidelines when attending these locations this Summer.

An Garda Siochana is also supporting National Water Safety Awareness Week (June 14th – 20th). Information on this campaign and general water safety can be found on Water Safety Irelands Website – www.watersafety.ie/national-water-safety-awareness-week/

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