Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Fáilte Ireland North West Industry Briefing.

1. Fáilte Ireland under its 2007-2013 Product Development Strategy has identified transport infrastructure as a key deliverable and commits to working with Department of Transport in an effort to further enhance the ease with which people get into and around the country. Regular updates will follow.
2. Fáilte Ireland has been engaged with the National Roads Authority in the development of its new road signage policy (details can be found on www.nra.ie under the publications tab). This policy will now be implemented by the NRA and you will shortly receive a questionnaire from us that will allow you to highlight what you believe are your local requirements so that we can factor our needs into the NRA’s implementation plan. The challenge now falls to Fáilte Ireland to engage with our Local Authorities to get a complimentary approach in place for our secondary and tertiary road network.
3. Again, Fáilte Ireland will seek to work with Department of Transport to ensure we offer our visitors the best possible bus and rail services within the bounds of economic sense. The recent announcement of new Bus Éireann routes to service Ireland west Airport (Knock) is a welcome development in this context.
4. Fáilte Ireland will work with Tourism Ireland and other relevant partners to put in place the necessary promotional programmes that will drive airline yields into all regional airports. Fáilte Ireland will be particularly focused on working with Shannon Development to ensure a cohesive marketing effort is in place for the West and South West of Ireland.
5. Fáilte Ireland has just created a Hospitality Product Manager role that will seek to generate greater strategic direction and cohesion across the various food product offerings. Conversations have already commenced with Bord Bia, RAI and IHF around how best to progress the creation of a shared vision for Food Tourism and it is intended from this to generate an agreed strategy and set of action plans to drive Food Tourism into the future.
6. Fáilte Ireland delivers a comprehensive information provision solution to both domestic and international visitors and the plans are in place to further enhance the service we offer to both the visitor and our industry customers. The national and regional websites are all scheduled for development work in 2007. All product sites are scheduled for work in 2007. And in terms of international visitors, we will be working with Tourism Ireland to ensure the best possible information and promotional offers are in place on both the general destination site and on new product websites.
7. Fáilte Ireland has created an Environment Policy Unit and it is currently engaging with other key stakeholders to develop an Eco Tourism Policy. It’s anticipated that the policy document will provide clear direction in terms of product development in the years ahead. Environmental considerations are now being factored into all new strategy work in the product arena.
8. The Product Development Strategy was developed by a broad group of stakeholders including key decision makers in other relevant government departments.
9. From a product development and management perspective, Fáilte Ireland is committed to creating product clusters in rural areas that have the potential to both attract and retain visitors within an area. There will be sustained marketing support for culture and activity products with a view to enticing visitors to all areas of the country.
10. Fáilte Ireland co-operates fully with both the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and LEADER on matters pertaining to product development. This is currently evidenced in developing plans under INTERREG. Equally, we present an all-island pitch on many key products such as golf, walking, angling etc.
11. Fáilte Ireland will commit to further follow-up with industry on this matter and will attempt to add value by investigating potential solutions in the insurance area.
12. Fáilte Ireland will endeavour through its various activities to improve communications within the industry on a localised basis. It will support the establishment of industry networks, circulate Product News e-zine, deliver programmes to enhance local product knowledge amongst front line staff, deliver a better visitor servicing experience both online and in our regional TIO’s. Our new regional structures are also designed to enable better two-way communications with our industry partners.
13. Fáilte Ireland has completed the development of a new Angling Strategy in conjunction with a range of key stakeholders. It points the way in terms both capital and current investment actions required to sustain growth. It also assigns responsibilities to the various state agencies involved in the angling product.
14. Fáilte Ireland is following closely the interactions between the farming lobbies and Minister for Community, Rural affairs and Gaeltacht Areas. In our interventions we have set out a clear vision for what’s possible in terms of Ireland’s walking product but critically the ultimate resolution lies with Minister O’Cuiv and the farmers’ representative bodies.
15. It is Fáilte Ireland’s understanding that at least one car hire company is prepared to make its product available to the over 65’s market. We will certainly push to have this featured on the various state agencies’ websites and will address the issue with the Car Rental Council.
16. Fáilte Ireland commits to pursuing this issue and provided the ‘free’ product is of a good enough standard, it will be featured on our website.
17. The new Regional Development Boards will explore the potential for city breaks within their respective administrative regions. If there’s a sensible business case, then resources will be committed to developing all cities with genuine tourism potential.
18. Fáilte Ireland at both a national and regional level is committed to unlocking/developing the potential within the inland counties. We will employ both NDP and other tax incentive measures to encourage and facilitate product development in these areas. Our regional teams will work with all interested parties to implement agreed advertising and promotional plans.
19. Fáilte Ireland commits to introducing product knowledge programmes for frontline staff. We would also recommend that individual business owners and/or managers take this on as an issue themselves and work to ensure that they and their staff stay familiar with all the ‘things to do’ that are available within a locality.
20. Fáilte Ireland will publicise the availability of all investment funds and tax incentive schemes. It will publish the operating guidelines along with Frequently Asked Questions on its corporate website, www.failteireland.ie . In addition, we will run regional briefing sessions to walk potential investors through the details of the schemes and how best to approach the applications process.

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