Failte Ireland has made a commitment to help promote Mayo Tourism throughout 2012 following its annual Tourism Industry Briefing held in Westport on Tuesday last. In a discussion with tourism operators in the county at Knockranny House Hotel, the tourism body warned against any complacency in the sector, stressing that the hard lessons and good work of the last few years will need to continue.
To assist that momentum, Fáilte Ireland will be working hand in glove with local tourism businesses in County Mayo, according to Fáilte Ireland CEO, Shaun Quinn, who stated:
“Although 2011 was an encouraging year, there is no room for complacency. We must all remain focused on doing all we can to maintain a momentum towards recovery. Fáilte Ireland, through a mixture of marketing, supporting tourism businesses and developing attractive tourism destinations, will work closely to boost the full potential of the Western region in 2012.”
The tourism body recalled noteworthy tourism developments in Mayo during 2011, particularly the completion of the Great Western Greenway, officially opened on July 29 by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport Michael Ring.
Speaking about the attraction, Fiona Monaghan, head of operations for Fáilte Ireland in the West, stated: “The development of this off-road cycle and walking trail has been a huge success to date and has contributed significantly to both job creation and job sustainability in the Westport to Achill area.
“I am delighted that further funding was secured to extend the Greenway to Croagh Patrick and to link Westport to Castlebar. This enhanced tourism infrastructure opens up a new tourism experience to both domestic and overseas visitors and Fáilte Ireland will continue to work with the tourism providers in the destination to exploit the opportunities around the Greenway.”
It was also noted that in November, Ryanair announced four new direct air services from key European cities (Paris, Frankfurt, Milan and Barcelona ) into Ireland West Airport, Knock.
“These new routes provide a huge opportunity for tourism business in the West to grow their market share from these very important source markets for inbound tourism.”
Ms Monaghan continued: “Fáilte Ireland, through it Sales Connect initiative, will continue to work with businesses in the region to maximise the opportunities presented by these new routes while also delivering a wide variety of practical business supports to ensure tourism enterprises are market-ready to welcome and cater to European visitors.”
Fáilte Ireland will also continue to support a wide variety of festivals and events which have the capability to deliver bednights and incremental tourist revenue to the destination. This will include a number of adrenaline pumping participative events such as the Sea to Summit, Turf Guy and established events such as Gaelforce and Achill Roar in addition to a series of cultural events.
“Fáilte Ireland’s 2011 Visitor Attitudes Survey has shown that visitors to Destination West have a strong interest in visiting an offshore island as part of their holiday experience. This year, Fáilte Ireland will work with tourism providers on the islands and on the mainland to look at enhancing the visitor experience and making an island holiday experience more accessible to visitors.”
Ms Monaghan also pointed out that, despite the economic downturn, the national tourism development authority supported a busy year of tourism activity in 2011 and provided training to hundreds of members of the local industry.
“During 2011, over 2,000 members of the local tourism industry here in the West region received advice and training in areas such as online marketing, customer care, and sales. In addition, local bed and breakfast owners were upskilled through a new B&B development programme, covering areas such as menu development and customer care.
“Fáilte Ireland will be placing further focus on skills development throughout 2012 in order to ensure the industry in the West is fully equipped to sustain and grow their business in the current environment.”