00:00 Saturday 09 June 2012  Written by Leo McMAHON

Tourism is everyones business so get involved, says Kinsale Chamber

'TOURISM is everyone's business.' That was the message from chairperson of Kinsale Chamber of Tourism (KCT) Hal McElroy at an open meeting in the Trident Hotel to announce a new membership drive with reduced prices and plans for 2012, including a new brochure, network meetings and other initiatives of benefit to all the community.

KCT, he stressed, was a voluntary body and limited company, not a lobby group, which aimed to market the town as a whole and kept its members up to date. Despite financial constraints, much had been achieved and in seeking new members, it was saying 'help us to support you.'

Reviewing the past year, Hal McElroy said highlights included: 1) the National Chowder Cook-off; 2) Kinsale featuring in Martin's Still Mad About Fish on RTE television; 3) Christine O'Sullivan starring on Masterchef and representing Kinsale in twin centre Newport, Rhode Island, USA at the chef exchange; 4) excellent coverage for Kinsale and KCT in a morning TV3 programme made in co-operation with Carlton Hotel and; 5) the annual Kinsale Wedding Showcase at different venues.

KCT and Fáilte Ireland, he continued, were co-operating on a number of projects and many visiting journalists gave great coverage. Christine O'Sullivan of Toddies chaired a new food group to highlight the culinary aspect of Kinsale and Fáilte Ireland funded a 'Strategic Cascade' workshop with marketing guru Conor Kenny.

Six KCT members formed a group called 'Golf Kinsale' which helped host a familiarisation visit by members of the Irish Golf Tour Operators' Association (IGTOA) and Kinsale was represented at the 2011 Irish Open in Killarney. There were plans to expand this group, said Hal.

Well-represented

The area was also well-represented by KCT at the Irish Tour Operators' Association workshop in Limerick, at Meitheal, the largest overseas agents workshop in Dublin, and worked closely with cruise liner companies to notify KCT members of ships calling to Cobh with passengers going in coaches to Kinsale. It also liaised with the town council (represented at the meeting by Cllrs Alan Clayton and Dermot Collins). Hal thanked Fuzion Communications and behind-the-scenes KCT workers Maria O'Mahony of Finishing Services, Brian Graham dealing with queries at www.kinsale.ie and treasurer Mary Evans as well as new marketing manager Una Wren and her predecessor Kate Howey.

KCT directors are Maria O'Mahony, Jack Walsh, Ciaran Fitzgerald, Daniel Cummins, Michael Smith and Hal McElroy. They are on the executive committee which also comprises Catherine Norman, Mary Evan, Roman Minehan, Martin Shanahan and Carole Norman. It is hoped to expand the committee and form different working groups.

Maria O'Mahony reported that subscriptions in 2011 totalled €27,180. Marketing and promotion cost €33,100.

The chairman announced a new introductory membership of €150 for one year and a new category of small business (owner and maximum one staff) of €195. Furthermore, subscriptions to KCT had been reduced all round from €370 to €296 for regular membership, from €690 to €595 for large businesses and hotels. Hal agreed with Michael Frawley of the need for a major push to recruit new members.

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