Building on the success of the Kerry Tourism Bus Promotion in the UK last month, Kerry County Council, Fáilte Ireland, Go Kerry - All Kerry Tourism and the wider tourism trade is mounting a major one-day showcase of Kerry tourism activities, visitor attractions and product providers in The Malton Hotel, Killarney on Thursday, May 19th. Participation in and admission to the exhibition is free.
Kerry is Ireland’s premier holiday destination with a range of cultural, heritage and activity attractions unmatched anywhere in Ireland. The aim of the showcase is to ensure that everyone involved in tourism in the county is fully aware of the activities and events that are available in Kerry, where they are located and how to access them.
“What we are looking to do is to keep the visitor in County Kerry for as long as possible to maximise and distribute the economic benefit to everybody,” John Griffin, Kerry Tourism Officer explained. “Kerry attracts 1.2 million visitors a year and if just one in three of these would remain in the county for one extra night it would be worth an extra €20 million to the local economy.”
According to Declan Murphy of Fáilte Ireland, “The Kerry Tourism Showcase is a chance for accommodation providers to meet with activity providers, visitor attractions, family activity providers and all businesses that offer visitors friendly pursuits, to make them aware of what they offer and to create opportunities to increase business for all tourism providers in Kerry.
“Key to this is ensuring that everyone involved in tourism, from B&B owners to hotel reception staff, from taxi drivers to coach operators, know what activities and events are available in the county, where they are, and who is operating them.”
A steering group comprising of Kerry County Council, Fáilte Ireland South West, Go Kerry - All Kerry Tourism, the Regional Partnership Development Companies and marketing groups has been established to oversee the event, which is the first of its size in the county.
The original showcase proposal came from the Kerry County Development Board, and following the success of the Kerry Bus project, the broadly based tourism group has decided on the Showcase as their next project. The County Development Board, according to its economic planning officer Noreen O’Mahony, “sees the showcase as an ideal opportunity for tourism providers in the county to network and collaborate with each other.”
All visitor attractions, activity and festival organisers are being allocated space within the exhibition area free of charge. Space is limited and stands will be filled on a first come-first served basis while ensuring that a diverse range of product is featured.
“Hotels, Bed & Breakfasts, hostels and other accommodation providers will be represented by their parent organisations, such as the Irish Hotels Federation,” Declan Murphy explained. “Additionally the local development organisations will also be represented, to ensure that smaller tourism groups and businesses will have a presence.”
Mary Rose Stafford, Chairperson of Go Kerry – All Kerry Tourism group, is calling on the County to embrace and support this unique opportunity. “Tourism in Kerry is everyone’s business,” she explained. “We want everyone in Kerry to ‘know your county’ and to get out and experience what Kerry has to offer for themselves. This Kerry Tourism showcase is a very important event, giving every town and village in the county an opportunity to display the vast range of amenities and activities they have to offer, from Tarbert to Lauragh, from Valentia to Castleisland and from Dun Chaoin to Gneeveguilla. We can all promote Kerry by becoming tourism ambassadors for the county”.
Teachers, active retired groups and others organising group tours will also be encouraged to visit the exhibition, and John Griffin has called for accommodation providers, bars, restaurants, and those involved in the tourism sector to encourage their staff to visit the exhibition.
Booking forms are being circulated by the Killarney Tourist office and through the Go Kerry Tourism network. All completed forms should be returned to The Killarney Tourist Office, Beech Road, before Thursday May 12th. It is also possible to register online at www.discoverkerry.com.