The B.A.C.D. before Christmas rolled out a new 10-year Overall Development Strategy for the Town and environs of which Tourism Development is to be one of three key pillars.
A Leader supported feasibility study undertaken during 2021 signposted the way for a new grouping to work collectively to focus on visitor attractiveness, and harnessing the potential of marketing the town as a key proposition within the Hidden Heartlands Brand and with the new Cycle Greenway soon to arrive .
Key representatives from the Tourism and Hospitality trade , culture and events, leisure activities , heritage & genealogy & community development groups were invited to a workshop in Gullane’s Hotel on 10th March.
The workshop enjoyed presentations on the Town 10 Year Strategy from Vice Chair of BACD Brian King and the summary points of the Feasibility Plan from the Co – Ordinator Colm Croffy.
Many of the main opportunities were outline and discussed in some detail with breakout sessions examining the way the various elements of a visitor experience needs to become more joined up across the area for things to improve.
Evidence was offered of the near 400,000 visitors in paid attendance to some of the more significant attractions in a 30 minute drive time – like Clonmacnoise and Athlone Castle in season 2019 and if even 5% could be persuaded to overnight in the locality according to FI data it would be worth at least €1.5 mil in revenue to business locally. If the domestic visitor could be encouraged to spend a day here – their spend of €72 could deliver another €1.4 million in income – and for every €1 million some 27 jobs are sustained !
Critically from Failte and Hidden Heartlands market research what the locale enviorns offers snuggled between the Beara - Breifne Way to the West , the Shannon Erne Waterway to the East, connected by both Blue way and soon Greenway will be an idyllic spot for off grid, tranquil tourism.
The creation of a cluster community tourism marketing and development group for all relevant organisations and hospitality interests within a 15km radius of Ballinasloe, led by the trade and community sector and co – ordinated by BACD was agreed. Many of the Heritage and Community groups from an arc North - South from Meelick to Ballyforan and from Shannonbridge/ Clonmacnoise to Dartfield were identified on the evening so as that the next larger seminar has even more district involvement.
A small steering working group was established comprising of Alan Harney, Frances Leahy (Town Hall Theatre) Gareth &Michelle McAllister (Ahascragh Distillery ) Matthew Hughes (Ballinasloe & District Vintage Club) Valerie Dolan (Ballinasloe Walks and Trails) Graham Bartlett (Inland Waterways Association Ireland - River Suck Branch) Billy Reynolds (Larry Reynolds Festival) & Ruth O'Brien (Shearwater Hotel) to take the plan and process forward.
They are planning on holding a larger scale meeting in a few weeks to invite all the stakeholders along with all the government bodies and funding agencies (Hidden Heartlands, Ireland Waterways, Galway Co Co , Roscommon Co Co., Cycleway , BMW Regional etc etc) to present the plan, the new Community and Tourism Sector Collective and to establish best ways of working together to anchor Ballinasloe – the third largest town in the Hidden Heartlands with approved accommodation as a key Hub Visitor town in the next decade.
For further details you can contact Lyn directly on 0909646516
A small steering working group was established comprising of Alan Harney, Frances Leahy (Town Hall Theatre) Gareth &Michelle McAllister (Ahascragh Distillery ) Matthew Hughes (Ballinasloe & District Vintage Club) Valerie Dolan (Ballinasloe Walks and Trails) Graham Bartlett ( Inland Waterways Association Ireland - River Suck Branch) Billy Reynolds (Larry Reynolds Festival) & Ruth O'Brien (Shearwater Hotel) to take the plan and process forward.
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