Clare tourism website to boost visitor numbers

A SENIOR tourism figure yesterday welcomed the launch of a new website aimed at boosting Clare’s visitor numbers — but said more needs to be done to boost numbers in the west.

The site, clarevirtually.ie, went live yesterday and is aimed at any visitors seeking to come to Clare on holidays, weekends away or on business trips.

At the launch of the website, Michael Vaughan, vice-president of the Irish Hotels’ Federation, said: “The website is welcome, but there is a need for a co-ordinated effort along the western seaboard to increase tourist numbers.”

The Lahinch-based hotelier said the country’s tourist industry is undergoing a two-pace recovery which has to be addressed.

“Numbers in Dublin are up 15% to 20% and the west is still in the doldrums,” he said.

“The domestic market has failed us in the west but those businesses relying on North American visitors have had a good season.

He added: “A website alone is not the answer to the challenges we have, but I am delighted to see someone put their money where their mouth is and come up with something new.”

clarevirtually.ie is the brainchild of Eoin O’Hagan.

The website hosts B&Bs, hotels, self-catering accommodation, restaurants, pubs and visitor attractions.

Mr O’Hagan said the site offers video tours which allow prospective visitors to tour the selected premises.

He said: “Virtual websites have been done before but not like this as the tours are video tours.

“The video, which is 60 seconds long, shows the viewer the exterior, interior of the premises and you also get to virtually meet the land lady/landlord/owner.”

The Dubliner now lives in Scariff in the Banner county and said: “All potential tourists to Clare will find the website very useful because it will give them the opportunity to see what the premises is like before they book and travel.

“They can also use the link on each page which brings them straight to the relevant website of the tourism provider to book their accommodation.”

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