Ministers Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran and Shane Ross are in the Hodson Bay Hotel this morning to launch a new tourism brand for the Midlands region.
The new brand will be introduced to run alongside the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland Ancient East branding.
Since 2015, the Midlands region has been promoted under the Ireland Ancient East brand. However, the brand covers a wide geographical area, and many local councillors and representatives have questioned how effective it has been in promoting the region.
“It is a big day,” Minister Moran said on Wednesday this week. “This is something we have wanted for around 20 years, that the Lakelands region gets the recognition it deserves. Now we have it written into the Programme for Government and we are seeing it happen. This is not just a big day for Athlone but for the entire Midlands region. For the likes of Roscommon, Leitrim, Longford, Athlone, and down into parts of Galway and Tipperary, it is a huge win for all in terms of tourism.
“While Fáilte Ireland has done a great job in terms of Ireland’s Ancient East, the Greenways, The Wild Atlantic Way, work that we all greatly appreciate, this new brand and the money behind it is massive. Athlone has gotten its recognition recently from Government with regional growth status, and to add this new brand to that is absolutely brilliant.”
Minister Moran reflected on the discussions for the Programme for Government that paved the way for this new brand to be introduced.
“This was discussed at 12.55am the night before we went into Government,” he said. “Minister Denis Naughten and John O’Sullivan from the Hodson Bay Group should be commended, as they were there as well, we were all involved in it. We were sitting until two or three o’clock in the morning before we got the wording of it right, but we got there. Now to see it actually happening, when many people said it could never happen, is just fantastic. I think it will really boost tourism in the region.
“Now we all can work closely together, because what is good for one is good for all. This new brand will open new doors for hoteliers, restaurants, B&Bs, and all the amenities and sites in the region. This is a brand we can all be happy with, and I think it is a very positive step.”