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Growing Tourism

Tourism providers gathered in Thurles to hear about the growth of tourism in Tipperary County.
As part of Local Enterprise Week 2018, Tipperary Tourism invited tourism providers from across the county to The Anner Hotel last Wednesday to hear about the growth of tourism in Tipperary.
Fran Curry from Tipp FM was the MC for the event that included afternoon tea on arrival featuring the Tipperary Food Producers Network. Luke Murtagh, Chairperson of Tipperary Tourism spoke on behalf of the company in relation to the importance of the tourism trade engaging with Tipperary Tourism and becoming members to support the marketing and promotion of the county. At the event he made a special presentation to Birdhill Tidy Towns to acknowledge their success on winning the national title of Ireland’s Tidiest Town in 2017.
Cathaoirleach of Tipperary County Council, Dr Phyll Bugler welcomed everyone to the event and highlighted the importance of the industry working together to promote and cross sell the county. She emphasised the value of tourism to the local economies across the county in the towns, villages and rural communities commenting that “In 2013, 323,000 domestic and international visitors came to Tipperary worth €74million to the economy, in 2016, the latest figures available from Fáilte Ireland shows us this has grown to over 400,000 visitors worth over €110 million annually”. While impressed with this growth she noted the importance of sustainability and added that “We need to have a sustainable tourism product that can continue to attract visitors supporting employment and growth in the industry for the future.”
Speaking to a full house at the ballroom in the Anner, Una Ryan, a board member with Tipperary Tourism, updated the audience on the work Tipperary Tourism has completed in the last eighteen months noting particular highlights that included; A new map and guide for the county; a walking guide; commissioned illustrations of the top tourist attractions used in postcards; working with the tourism trade to create experiential offers that can be sold to domestic and international visitors with the support of Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland; a huge marketing and PR campaign; industry development; and the membership scheme that has been in operation since last year. She concluded by presenting the plans the company has to market the county over the next three years with a new three year marketing plan. The plan will target the market segments most appropriate to the county as identified by Fáilte Ireland and these include the ‘Culturally Curious’, ‘Connected Families’ and ‘Great Escapers
Marie Phelan, Tourism Development Officer with Tipperary County Council, showcased the work of Tipperary County Council in relation to tourism development projects across Tipperary including the Munster Vales, Lough Derg and The Butler Trail. She updated the gathering on the ‘Flights of Discovery’ project for Clonmel, an exciting new project that will include the County Museum, the River Suir, the Westgate and the development of a visitor experience at Dowd’s Lane in association with Bulmers. Finally, Ms. Phelan also spoke about the importance of food tourism and the work to date in partnership with the Tipperary Food Producers Network including the production of The Tipperary Food Tour book and the development of a new food tourism trail for the county.
Paul Keeley, Director of Commercial Development with Fáilte Ireland spoke about the prospects for growth in the tourism industry in Ireland. Positively he noted that the season is getting longer and by having a sustainable year round tourism business is the best was forward for Tipperary. He commented that “We have moved from a service economy to an experience economy and Tipperary needs to have a highly differentiated offering to stand out as a destination. This can be achieved by building brilliant visitor experiences, supporting the development of a world class tourism industry, and supporting the development of a visitor friendly infrastructure and community”.
The second part of the seminar involved Fran Curry welcoming five innovative and exciting Tipperary Tourism members to the stage where the spotlight was on these members to share some of their insights into running successful tourism related businesses. Speakers included Con Traas from The Apple Farm in Cahir; Mark Molloy from Crossogue Equestrian Centre; Graham Kenny from Bike Park Ireland; Elizabeth Nallen Bowen from The Hotel Minella; and Mary Fogarty from The Cottage in Loughmore. Each gave wonderful anecdotes into their lives running the businesses and this element of the tourism seminar was enjoyed immensely by the audience.
To conclude events, Joe MacGrath, Chief Executive with Tipperary County Council reiterated the Council’s commitment to the further development of tourism in the county. He encouraged those attending to consider joining Tipperary Tourism to assist them in marketing and promoting the county in 2018.
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