Kildare needs to work on 'stickiness', says tourism guru

“There’s this sense that there’s Dublin, and then a green haze”

Conor McHugh

Reporter:

Conor McHugh

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conor@leinsterleader.ie

Kildare needs to work on 'stickiness', says tourism guru

Maureen Bergin (Community and Business Relations Director, Kildare Village) with Paul Keeley (Director of Commercial Development with Fáilte Ireland) at the Failte Kildare AGM.

Kildare’s tourism strategy is on the right track for continued visitor growth, according to Failte Ireland.

The county’s collaborative approach of cross selling and promoting itself and its attractions under the IntoKildare brand will bear fruit for Kildare’s tourism industry.

 That’s according to Paul Keely, Director of Commercial Development at Failte Ireland who gave a very insightful talk at the AGM of Kildare Fáilte recently. 

He introduced the notion of ‘stickness’ to those present, explaining that in Kildare, with three of the nation’s major motorways passing through, bringing potential visitors away from the county. The idea, he said was to encourage them to get off the motorway, to stay the night and to enjoy what the county had to offer.

In that regard, he said Kildare needed to make sure there something somewhere for people to do in the evening time if they stayed overnight. Stickiness is all about getting them to stay for longer and to make sure there was a range of experiences available to them.

In that regard, he was echoing a point made by others during the AGM, that there aren’t enough hotel beds in Kildare, and that this could hold us back. And he added that we needed to start seeing tourism as a 52 week of the year industry. “The Wild Atlantic Way has a season, realisitcally, of just six weeks,” he explained.

Simply things like having a successful Tidy Town’s organisation tended to improve the chances of a town doing well in the tourism industry. He presented statistics which showed that tourism in Ireland is well regarded by visitors, with 99% saying it met expectations.

However, the number of people who said that it was represented good value for money was falling, from 63% in 2016 to 53% in 2017. The trick, he said, was to understand that while Ireland and Kildare could not compete on price, it could compete on value, and that tourist experiences was where Ireland has potential.

He also showed those present a map of the country outlining the main tourist centres in the country — they were essentially Dublin, Cork and then most of Kerry, Clare and Galway city. Much of the rest of the country is being branded in different regions, and it’s hoped and beleived that Kildare will become more of a tourism hotspot than is currently the case — albeit, never as attractive as the likes of Kerry.

“There’s this sense that there’s Dublin, and then a green haze.” In general, however, Mr Keely was of the view that Kildare’s strategy was on the right track for continued visitor growth, according to Failte Ireland.

 And in his speech, he outlined how Kildare Failte’s approach will benefit the national authority’s overall strategy for the next ten years.