THERE was a great deal of local interest in last week’s Fáilte Ireland ‘Survive to Thrive’ virtual industry event as the man responsible for getting the show on the road, or rather the computer screen, was Paul Carty, the interim chairman of Failte Ireland.
Paul, who lives in Kinsale and is married to local lady, Aggie Henderson, has had a distinguished career in tourism. For almost 20 years he held the role of managing director at the Guinness Storehouse, Ireland’s most popular paid visitor attraction and one of the world’s leading brand experiences, until his retirement last year.
Under Paul’s leadership Fáilte Ireland has embarked on a determined effort to lead by example and encourage Irish people to holiday at home. The most important part of the ‘Survive to Thrive’ event was the unveiling of new grant schemes and supports and the domestic marketing campaigns.
Paul feels that it is essential to drive footfall when the country re-opens and to prepare for domestic and international recovery developing destinations and outdoor tourism experience to stimulate demand. Food producers may be interested in another Fáilte Ireland event, a hosting business supports webinar on Tuesday next, February 9th, at 10am to assist food service businesses interested in maximising online opportunities for off-premises dining, special occasions and year-round gifting from an e-commerce and communications perspective.
On the home front, the Kinsale Chamber of Tourism and Business intends to launch a campaign similar to the successful 2020 one, which saw the town do good business in between the lockdowns and have a successful Christmas season. Unfortunately, Kinsale, like other towns, is suffering at present with deserted streets and concern that some people are not pulling their weight in keeping themselves and other Kinsale people safe.
It doesn’t seem unreasonable to ask people to maintain a safe distance and wear masks and avoid parties and celebrations until the summer, hopefully. Travel should be totally ruled out, not just a trip to Dublin, etc but a spell in the sun, which we would all enjoy, but should put on the long finger for now.
The recent Lanzarote fiasco resulted in some adverse comment online and local resentment and, hopefully, will not be repeated, especially after appeals from Dr Tony Holohan and the Taoiseach for people not to travel abroad.