Westport made national headlines again last Friday at Fáilte Ireland’s inaugural Tourism Towns Award presentation in The Gibson Hotel, Dublin. The town was shortlisted with nine others for the final adjudication which was held in October – the other towns in the final shake down were Ballyvaughan, Clonakilty, Dundalk, Ennis, Kilkenny, Killarney, Letterkenny, Trim, and Portmagee, which won the overall title.
The Tourism Towns Award has been designed to promote those Irish towns and villages which are working hard to enhance their appeal to tourists visiting their local area. Westport received a prize of €1,000 towards further developing itself as a tourism destination.
This new award, which was developed by Fáilte Ireland, was piloted as part of the 2012 National Tidy Towns Competition. The Tourism Towns award focuses on how participating towns have developed their locality in the following key tourism areas: sense of place, local involvement, tourism products available and development and promotion of the town.
Speaking at the awards ceremony Cathaoirleach Councillor Ollie Gannon said: “For over half a century, Westport Town Council along with local business and community groups have worked together to promote the town as an attractive visitor destination. As far back as the mid-fifties Westport saw the economic potential that tourism could create, with the establishment of the International Sea Angling Festival. And I’m glad to say that it’s still going strong 57 years later.”
He added that the town's continued success in national competitions is testament to the work carried out by the local community working in partnership with Westport Town Council and other agencies. “I believe in the strength of people, look at what Westport has achieved by working in partnership - over 100 voluntary groups working together for a better community.”