Tourism West Cork, the recently formed promotional steering group consisting of tourism representatives from Kinsale to Beara, met with Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD and Jim Daly TD in Clonakilty on March 25. The aim of the meeting was to highlight the urgent need for a cohesive, adequately funded marketing strategy to actively promote the entire West Cork tourism experience domestically and internationally.
In a timely meeting, the group shared with the Minister news on how West Cork tourism stakeholders are working together to take full advantage of the region’s position as the starting point of the Wild Atlantic Way, undoubtedly the most exciting domestic tourism initiative to have been launched in Ireland.
Minister Donohue launched the government’s new tourism policy, ‘People, Place and Policy – Growing Tourism to 2025’ earlier in the week. A key aim of the face-to-face meeting was to demonstrate how the unified aims of Tourism West Cork are clearly aligned with the long-term goals of government policy.
During the meeting there was no disputing the fact that West Cork has a first class offering in terms of ‘Place’ – stunning natural scenery, unspoilt coastline, a wealth of world-class activity and leisure providers, as well as a thriving food and cultural community. These are being driven by passionate groups of ‘People’ at a local community level eager to welcome visitors to the area.
Minister Donohoe saw the value of setting up a regional body charged with promoting West Cork at a strategic level, ensuring it gains full advantage from the tourism initiatives being developed by Fáilte Ireland. While the Minister affirmed that the job of ‘promoting the entire area as a brand abroad could be done so much better’, he identified the clear potential for West Cork to flourish when its offer is aligned with Fáilte Ireland’s key initiatives for Cork and Ireland more generally. Tourism West Cork agrees that there is huge potential to increase visitor numbers to the area if a unified and compelling message can be gotten out there to the various tourist sectors.
In what is a vote of confidence in the work of the Tourism West Cork group, the Minister has confirmed his support, and together with TD Jim Daly, will ensure that the group is an integral part of the development of key marketing decisions and policies currently being formulated.
Group Chairman Finbarr Harrington commented: “We are very pleased with what the Minister said at the meeting. He recognised the potentially crucial role West Cork can play due to its position at the start of the Wild Atlantic Way, as a hinge between the WAW and the new South East tourism initiative and as a support for Cork Airport. He also saw that West Cork as a whole entity has under promoted itself and that our group is well positioned to help solve this problem. We look forward to working with the Minister as part of his strategy.’