We at the Mayo Advertiser have launched our Buy Mayo campaign this week with a resounding endorsement from Junior Minister for Tourism Michael Ring and support from An Taoiseach Enda Kenny who will officially launch the initiative later in the summer.
This free campaign, which aims to highlight the benefits of shopping local and encourages shoppers to support local businesses and services, has been months in the planning stages and we are delighted now to be able to begin seeking support from the Mayo business community and shopping fraternity.
What is exciting about this campaign is that it benefits businesses by giving them a platform to support a positive initiative which will encourage footfall through their doors; consumers should benefit from in-store promotions and improved customer service from the businesses who embrace this campaign, and communities will be strengthened as shoppers are reminded to support those businesses who are the mainstay of local towns and villages.
The campaign is not just to ensure Mayo remains an attractive business and shopping county for its residents, but also an attractive destination for visitors. We have the scenery, some of the best in Ireland, but we need to ensure that visitors spend a few quid while they’re on holidays and to do that shops must ensure they are inviting and offer excellent customer service.
It’s encouraging also that the Government have rubber-stamped their financial support of Ireland West Airport Knock this week for the remainder of this year and into the future. Knock is viewed is one of the country’s viable regional airports and is an extremely important piece of infrastructure for the west and northwest.
The news is not so good for our neighbouring airports in Galway or Sligo which have secured Government funding after much lobbying until the end of 2011. But their future is uncertain as the Government will not be dishing out any more cash to these airports in the future.
We need to ensure that Knock continues to thrive. Its future is paramount to the continued development of the west. It provides easy access to top UK destinations, enabling workers who cannot find employment at home to take up jobs across the water. Businessmen and women from the UK can also easily access the west and northwest of Ireland through IWAK, and with excellent value available on flights we hope that our friends in Britain are as enthusiastic about coming to Mayo on short breaks as we are on visiting top UK cities.
Buy Mayo, which will have a prominent presence on the Mayo Advertiser’s social networking sites along with dedicated Facebook and Twitter accounts of its own, will hopefully strike a chord with the Mayo Diaspora and encourage our friends and family abroad to make more frequent visits home.
For Mayo businesses to survive and thrive and to ensure we keep Mayo working, we need a collaborative approach to promoting the county. Everyone needs to take ownership from the children who are spending their pocket money, to the business owners themselves, to parents, pensioners, and service providers. We must make Buy Mayo our motto and endeavour to source locally produced products and services where viable. This is the only way that we can help ensure the future security of local jobs. It’s a merry go round alright, but one we can’t afford to jump off, even for a little break.