herald

Thursday 19 October 2017

Gathering 2 is planned for tourism drive

Paschal Donohoe. Photo: Frank McGrath
Paschal Donohoe. Photo: Frank McGrath

Plans are being drawn up to revive The Gathering tourism drive from two years ago which brought a major boost to the Irish holiday sector.

The initiative helped to boost overseas visitor numbers by 7pc, in comparison to the 1pc increase on tourists visiting from the previous year.

Tourism minister Paschal Donohoe is expected to rework the Gathering Ireland project over a 10-year period.

It is hoped that the revival will boost visitor spending by up to 50pc come 2025 to €5bn-a-year.

The head of Dublin Town, Richard Guiney, said that any initiative that can attract extra tourists to the country would be "greatly welcome".

"The last Gathering Ireland was hugely successful and having slumped to record lows in 2007 it was great to see such an increase in numbers in 2013," he said.

"Another initiative would be welcomed and, hopefully, it can make Ireland and Dublin a competitor on the international stage in terms of attracting tourists," Mr Guiney added.

However, he believes the capital should re-market itself and steer away from the 'pint' culture.

"I think we're selling ourselves short with this notion of attempting to attract tourists with alcohol. Of course it's worked well, but Dublin has so much more to offer culturally that we could shift our focus on other tourist attractions as well," he said.

optimistic

A taskforce has been created, which is driven by Failte Ireland and the four local authorities, to market Dublin in the best way possible, an initiative that Richard Guiney feels "very optimistic" about.

The Gathering is estimated to have attracted an extra 275,000 tourists who would not otherwise have visited the country, creating additional revenue of €170m.

The strategy called People, Place and Policy-Growing Tourism to 2025, is expected to be announced by the Taoiseach and Paschal Donohoe later this week.

Three main targets are to be set out, one of which is to attract 10 million overseas visitors to the country by 2025.

An increase in revenue to €5bn is also expected, with 250,000 jobs being created in the tourism sector compared to the 200,000 currently.

A report issued on the Gathering Ireland 2013 said the project had been completed within the €13m budget.

This was made up of €5m in 2012 and €7m in 2013 with a further €1m redirected from Fáilte Ireland funds from monies previously allocated for The Irish Open Golf tournament.

A further €8m was generated from third parties and in-kind sponsorship, with around 40pc of the budget being spent on marketing and communication.

Some of the country's biggest organisations got involved to lend their support to the Gathering Ireland, including Aer Lingus, Diageo and Emirates.

rschiller@herald.ie

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