Tourism strategy aims to make county No 1 choice
A new Tourism Strategy and Marketing Plan for Co Wicklow aims to make the Garden County the no.1 choice for visitors seeking idyllic escapes.
The plan, which was launched last week alongside a new Wicklow Outdoors brand, could see the creation of 1,000 jobs and added income for the county of €43m in the next four years.
Speaking at the launch in the Brockagh Rescource Centre, Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council Clr Pat Vance said that the clear aim of the strategy was to ‘make Wicklow the number one choice for visitors seeking an idyllic escape’ while also driving local job creation.
‘Between our Tourism Strategy and Marketing Plan and our new Wicklow Outdoors Brand, we will ensure that Wicklow with its range of outdoor activities – walking, hiking, cycling, mountain biking, horse riding, golfing, kayaking, surfing, trail running to name but a few – will become Ireland’s premier outdoor destination.’
The plan was launched by the Minister for Health Simon Harris who said they were ‘not just launching a plan, we a launching a vision – a vision for the future of our county’.
‘This is an exciting step for everyone involved in the sector across our county. I want to commend everyone who worked so hard to develop this strategy. The working group has done a real service for County Wicklow. It is also important to acknowledge Wicklow County Council’s leadership in this area. The council has driven tourism planning in the county and I look forward to working with them and our Wicklow communities to build on this vision,’ said Minister Harris.
The event also saw the launch of the Wicklow Outdoors brand from Wicklow County Tourism which highlights the growing market for outdoor activities for residents and tourists alike.
Wicklow County Council worked with Wicklow County Tourism and representatives of the tourism trade to create the vision and agree the priorities and objectives of the strategy. Blue Sail Consultants were engaged to develop and produce the strategy which, although acknowledged as ambitious, with some challenging targets, is also said to be very practical and achievable. The next step will be to establish an Implementation Group to ensure that targets are met.
Cllr Vance spoke about Wicklow’s ranking as a top 10 tourism destination and the opportunity to further develop the product, and inspire job creation. He spoke about the ‘incredible scenery, rich cultural heritage, fantastic outdoor activities, great food, drink and accommodation and above all the friendly people and great stories which Wicklow has in abundance.’
Frank Curran, Chief Executive of Wicklow County Council and Chairman of Wicklow County Tourism, said that tourism was one of the ‘main drivers’ of job creation in the local economy.
‘Working in collaboration with statutory agencies such as Failte Ireland, NPWS, OPW, Coillte, along with Town Teams and local tourism providers will ensure that a powerful and united message is promoted; Wicklow is the number one choice for visitors seeking an idyllic escape in a world class natural arena,’ said Mr Curran.
‘I am reliably informed that every €1m of tourism revenue supports 27 jobs in the locality. Through this strategy we aim to grow our tourism revenue by €43m in the next four years – that is over 1,000 jobs.’
Pat O’Suilleabhain, General Manager of Sea Life Centre and Chairman of the County Wicklow Tourism Development Group, explained that Wicklow has long held all the ingredients to make a fantastic tourism product and now has the correct recipe to follow to achieve this.
For more information on the County Wicklow Tourism Strategy and Marketing Plan or the Wicklow Outdoors brand visit www.wicklow.ie or www.visitwicklow.ie