Tourism leaders in the South-East say 80% of those in the hospitality sector feel the region is not adequately represented by Tourism Ireland when it comes to promotions in the international market.
A collaborative effort involving tourism teams in Waterford, Wexford and Kilkenny has been launched to market the region overseas in an attempt to attract new visitors to Ireland and has called for the full support of government and national tourism bodies.
The Forever Happening Southeast Group sees members of the industry from each of the three counties join forces with representatives from the three county councils to promote the region.
The group has carried out a survey within the hospitality industry in the region and there are positive reports for growth in visitor numbers in 2014.
“However,” the group said in a statement yesterday, “80% of the South-East’s hospitality sector also reported that they feel the region is not adequately represented by Tourism Ireland in promotions in the international market.”
Across the country, 82% of tourism providers are reporting an increase in visitor numbers, with the Wild Atlantic Way proving a draw for tourists along the west coast.
Chair of the Irish Hotels Federation South-East sector Bettie Marie Burger-Smit said the sector is “working hard” to grow its market share in the region and to attract new international visitors to Ireland.
“Our survey found that the entire hospitality industry across the South-East reported a 20% increase in their own marketing spend since 2013 to reach new markets,” she said.
“The three counties have now grouped together to work on a collaborative strategy through Forever Happening South-East. However, more needs to be done if the region’s tourism is to achieve its full potential. This collaborative effort across the South-East can be hugely successful if we have the full support of Government and from the country’s tourism bodies.”
The new group plans to host a tourism information day and has issued an open invitation to all business sectors in the region, particularly tourism, to attend a meeting to explore how to grow tourism. This will take place at the Brandon House Hotel in New Ross next on October 13 at 11am.
Director of business development with Fáilte Ireland Paul Keeley said the initiative is “a powerful example of what Irish tourism can achieve when industry, local authorities, chambers of commerce and state agencies collaborate to achieve a common aim”.
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