Aer Arann chairman Mr. Padraig O Ceidigh, F.A.I. Technical Director Packie Bonner, and Fine Gael Tourism spokesperson Jimmy Deenihan will join tourism interests from across the island of Ireland at the National Tourism Conference, which commences this evening and continues until Saturday.
The Clare Tourist Council – in conjunction with Clare County Council – will host the 22nd annual conference at The Falls Hotel, Ennistymon, County Clare.
The annual event will be attended by hundreds of tourism industry officials and members of local authorities, county enterprise boards, partnerships, and all public and private bodies involved in the promotion of tourism on the island of Ireland.
This year’s conference, entitled “Achieving World Class Tourism,” also will see some of Ireland’s leading tourism operators pledge their support for the Cliffs of Moher’s bid to be named one of the “New7Wonders of Nature.” The iconic County Clare landmark was shortlisted in July 2009, along with 27 other sites from over 440 participants representing over 220 countries.
Speakers scheduled to address the conference include: Aer Arann chairman Mr. Padraig O Ceidigh (The Importance of Access); Gerard Dollard, Director of Services Clare Co Council; Ennis Town Manager (Raising the Bar – The Role of local Authorities); Geraldine McGahey, Chief Executive, Larne Borough Council (Learning from the advantages of networking: The Pathway to Success); Samantha Williams, Cantata Project Coordinator, Denbighshire County Council (Developing an authentic tourism experience); and Bodil Alver Moen, Lillehammer Kommune, Norway (World Class Tourism: The Importance of Exchange Programmes, from Inside and Outside the E.U.).
The Football Association of Ireland (F.A.I.) will also be represented at the conference as it prepares to hold its own annual conference in County Clare next summer. Former goalkeeping international and current F.A.I. Technical Director Packie Bonner will address conference delegates on the issue of “Football in Clare: The Key to Success,” while F.A.I. delegate from Clare Jim Madden will speak about the importance of networking within clubs.
Commenting on the conference, Mr. Flan Garvey of the Clare Tourist Council said: “The interest shown in this year’s event indicates the very real commitment among all tourism agencies and operators to participate in a unified approach to addressing common issues facing the sector. Tourism has been hit badly by the downturn in the economy and it can only survive and prosper if operators in the sector exchange ideas and collaborate.”
Mr. Garvey noted that the conference has in previous years attracted tourism representatives from all over Ireland to Ennistymon to share their views on the best way forward for the sector.
“For over two decades this event has promoted the benefits of adopting a collaborative approach to developing tourism on the island of Ireland. The Clare Tourist Council is committed to engaging with tourism providers and promotional agencies throughout the island in reinforcing the country’s status as a domestic and international tourist destination alike. All political parties, including Sinn Fein and the Democratic Unionist Party, will also be participating in the event in the best interests of developing tourism,” he added.
The conference will include the presentation of the Clare Tourist Council Tidy Towns Awards, sponsored by Fitzpatrick’s Supervalu Supermarket in Ennistymon, along with a site visit by delegates to the nearby Cliffs of Moher.
The Clare Tourist Council hosted its first national tourism conference, entitled “The Tourism Explosion – Implications for Ireland” in 1989. Subsequent conferences have addressed a wide range of tourism issues like “Tourism for the ’90s,” “Tourism & the Environment,” “Let Tourism work for You,” “Keeping up with Changing Times,” “The Role Played by Local Authorities in Tourism,” “Positioning Tourism – Quality or Price,” “Promoting Co-operative Tourism Marketing,” and “Promoting Partnership In Tourism: 21 Years Of Progress.”