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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

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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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Family to run in memory of the late Linda Eviston

By Sean Moriarty The family of a much-loved Killarney woman who passed away from cancer almost a year ago plan to run a marathon past her favourite local landmarks in her memory. Linda Eviston died on October 10 last after a long battle with cancer. Her husband Patrick and son Erik, with the support of […]

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By Sean Moriarty

The family of a much-loved Killarney woman who passed away from cancer almost a year ago plan to run a marathon past her favourite local landmarks in her memory.

Linda Eviston died on October 10 last after a long battle with cancer.

Her husband Patrick and son Erik, with the support of her daughter Alannah, will run a 42.2km course, on the day before her anniversary to raise funds for the Irish Cancer Society.

The route will be based on landmarks that were an important part of Linda’s life. Starting from the family home in Dromkerry, before heading for the town centre and passing the Eviston House Hotel, Linda’s grandmother’s home at Park Road, Linda’s childhood home and national school in Glenflesk, Loreto where Linda attended secondary school, back to Killarney and finishing at Linda’s pride and joy – Brook Lodge Hotel.

“It is tough but we wanted to do something in Linda’s memory and help other people who might find themselves in similar circumstances,” Pat told the Killarney Advertiser. “We originally hoped to do the Dublin City Marathon but that got cancelled. This route is much better, but much tougher as it’s more hilly.”

All proceeds will be donated to the Irish Cancer Society and donations can be made via: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/inhonouroflinda.

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Women bravely bare all for Kerry’s first ‘Dip in the Nip’

By Michelle Crean  It really was girl power at its finest – as 170 women of all ages braved the elements on Sunday to bare all for charity at the weekend. Shore Acre in Camp was the location which was only revealed to the participants for Kerry’s first ever ‘Dip in the Nip’. And amongst […]

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By Michelle Crean
 

It really was girl power at its finest – as 170 women of all ages braved the elements on Sunday to bare all for charity at the weekend.

Shore Acre in Camp was the location which was only revealed to the participants for Kerry’s first ever ‘Dip in the Nip’. And amongst the all female grouping were some Killarney ladies who joined in the empowering adventure for what was described as “a special and unforgettable morning” all in aid of Recovery Haven Kerry.

According to Marisa Reidy from Recovery Haven, the women were of all ages and all walks of life who came together for so many personal reasons.

“Some were still on their own cancer journey, some were celebrating coming out the other side and of course, many were there to honour friends and loved ones who they had lost to cancer, but we were all equal on the day – flaws and all,” Marisa, who also took part in the event, told the Killarney Advertiser.

“It was a truly uplifting and exhilarating experience and we are so, so grateful to each and every lady who joined us for a morning we will never forget. One woman described it as ‘companionship among strangers’ and that really sums it up perfectly. It was emotional, there were some tears, but lots of laughter and we couldn’t have asked for anything more. When the ladies hit the water, they all formed a circle and held hands in a gesture that was totally unplanned – it just happened organically and it was quite overwhelming.”

She added that a very special mention has to be made to Michaela and John Edwards and their team from Wild Water Adventures for their support and expertise in ensuring no stone was left unturned in making it a fabulous, safe event.

“It was an all-female team from beginning to end, from our own volunteers, stewards, registration, Gardai, teas and coffees, lifeguards, sea rescue – girl power at its finest! Now all that’s left to do is start planning for 2022!”

Donations are still being taken via the link on the Recovery Haven Kerry Facebook page.

“So far we are close on €9,000 which is just fabulous.”

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