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Major Drive to Bring European Tourists to West and North West Region as Minister Michael Ring T.D. Announces Establishment of Western Region Tourism Marketing Programme

Minister Michael Ring T.D. Announces Establishment of Western Region Tourism Marketing Programme

The Western Development Commission (WDC) and regional Local Authorities are partnering with Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland on establishing the most significant international tourism marketing campaign ever for the Western Region. Taking place across Germany, France, Italy and England, the campaign aims to capitalise on the recently announced new air routes into Ireland West Airport Knock. The move is expected to provide a considerable boost to tourism businesses in the West and North West by bringing international tourists directly into the area.

Announced by Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Mr Michael Ring T.D., the marketing drive will see extensive promotion of the region in four of Ireland’s most important international tourism markets.

Minister Ring said that the Western Region Tourism Marketing Programme is a "new initiative in response to the government's commitment towards increasing the number of tourists coming to Ireland and improving their experience of Ireland and its regions during their stay". He commended the WDC, the participating Local Authorities, and Ireland West Airport Knock for their innovative approach in setting up the Marketing Programme which he said will bring a welcome boost to tourism in the West and North West regions. He also thanked Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland for their support for the initiative thus far, and he indicated that he expected to make a further announcement on funding support for the project in early April, following a meeting of the Fáilte Ireland Authority. "This programme is about maximising new and innovative service delivery channels, driving better value for money and leading, organising and working in new ways - all part of the government's reform agenda and all part of creating employment in these challenging times" he said.

“Direct air access drives enterprise and tourism and the WDC has long supported a policy of direct international access to and from the Western Region. The WDC is delighted to play such a central role in coordinating the marketing drive with the Local Authorities, Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland,” said Helen Rochford Brennan, Chair of the WDC.

Ian Brannigan WDC Acting CEO said the campaign will increase awareness of both the west coast and the lake land counties of Leitrim and Roscommon as attractive holiday destinations among millions of people in key European and English cities including Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, Paris, Milan, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, Manchester and Leeds. “Potential tourists across Europe will learn what we in the West and North West have always known; the West of Ireland has an excellent tourism product. This is a tremendous opportunity to showcase our stunning scenery, fantastic accommodation, the wide range of things to see and do, as well as the genuine welcome and great hospitality,” he added.

“This is great news for tourism in the west and the region will surely benefit from such joined-up thinking. New direct access routes and this campaign will help the west fight for a bigger slice of the overseas pie and bring much needed visitors, revenue and jobs into the area”, said Fiona Monaghan of Fáilte Ireland in the West.

Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland, said: “Working closely with airlines and airports to drive tourism into the West is a key priority for Tourism Ireland and we are delighted to bring our overseas marketing experience to the initiative and to collaborate with all the partners.  The new marketing programme will undoubtedly help drive demand for services to Ireland West Airport Knock.  It comes on top of a series of cooperative campaigns which Tourism Ireland and its airline partners are already rolling out in GB, Germany, France, Italy and Spain to promote new and existing services and boost tourism to the West of Ireland.”

Attending the announcement the Mayors and County Managers of the contributing Local Authorities warmly welcomed the Minister’s support for this marketing drive which will help unlock the region’s enormous tourism potential.  It is collaborative approaches such as this one involving the Local Authorities, the WDC, Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland that will deliver real benefit and jobs for the region and will provide a model for regional marketing and promotion into the future.  By pooling resources and budgets the West and North West region can have much greater impact overseas by telling the story directly to tourists of what the region has to offer. 

The campaign has been coordinated by the WDC in association with Donegal, Sligo, Mayo, Roscommon and Leitrim County Councils and Ireland West Airport Knock. The programme will see additional promotional activities for the region rolled out in the overseas markets.  Using radio, print and online advertising as well as direct mail promotions and radio competitions, the campaign aims to highlight outdoor and adventure activities in the West and North West region as well as showcasing the region’s wealth of heritage and culture.