Glenevin Waterfall - 'Staycation' market positioning Donegal as destination of choice for 2021
Covid-19 is drastically impacting the tourism and hospitality sector in Inishowen, wider Donegal and across the world.
In response, Donegal County Council will continue to “pivot its tourism activities in 2021” to respond in an “agile and effective way to meet the needs of businesses and supporting tourism activity in the county”.
The Council's intended strategy, which was outlined at January's plenary meeting on Monday, was welcomed by Inishowen Cathaoirleach Albert Doherty (Sinn Féin).
Speaking to Inish Times, Cllr Doherty said: “I sought information on the cross directorate recommendations and planning being developed to improve the visitors experience and entice visitors to enjoy the Donegal beaches, hills, caravan/camping and to improve the business for the county's hospitality sector in 2021.
“I also wanted to ensure the plan included council engagement with tourism providers and consultation with local community residents.”
Donegal County Council's Economic Development department responded: “Covid-19 is dramatically affecting the tourism and hospitality sector not only in Donegal but across the world, which means that businesses are adapting and responding to the evolving government restrictions, changing their business models to meet health and safety guidelines and providing customers with confidence to engage with their service.
“In line with this, Donegal County Council, will continue to pivot its tourism activities in 2021 to respond in an agile and effective way to meet the needs of businesses and supporting tourism activity in the county, including: Delivery of a new €500,000 innovative Tourism related minor works scheme that was approved by Council in 2021 Budget. The terms of reference for this scheme is currently being developed and it is expected that funding will be allocated by end of the First Quarter of 2021.
“Donegal County Council is also devising a new €200,000 Tourism Product/Business Development Programme, which will see a range of businesses supported to develop their offering to meets the needs of the increasing discerning visitors. The terms of reference for this programme is currently being developed and it is likely that it will have a strong sectoral focus.
“A new all-Ireland marketing campaign: ‘Reset, Reconnect, Rediscover’, will also be implemented to target the 'staycation' market, positioning Donegal as the destination of choice for 2021.”
In addition, Donegal County Council is working with Derry City and Strabane District Council to develop and deliver a cross-border tourism marketing campaign that will continue to ensure Donegal and the North West City Region “continues to be well profiled throughout 2021”.
The Council will also deliver a new cross-border North West Tourism Product Development Programme to the value of €100,000 supporting approximately 30 businesses, which means that 15 businesses in Donegal and Derry can enhance their product offering, so that they can maximise opportunities presenting when the Covid restrictions are lifted.
Donegal County Council has also secured funding under the Rural Development (LEADER) Programme to develop an international marketing campaign to promote Donegal, Sligo and Mayo in overseas markets including the US.
The Council said: “This is an important initiative that will enable Donegal to compete in lucrative markets such as the U.S. once the Covid-19 travel restrictions are lifted.
“Donegal County Council is planning to appoint consultants this month to develop a new Tourism Strategy for Donegal. This strategy will present a clearly defined road map for the recovery and development of the tourism sector, as a fundamental contributor to the economy, not only of Donegal, but on the island of Ireland.
“The Strategy will align with international, national, regional and local policies including to that of Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland. This strategy will recommend a number of key strategic initiatives that will aim to increase the county’s market share and guide a robust and sustainable approach to the development of the sector in Donegal.
“Engagement with all key stakeholders including tourism providers and local communities will be an important part of this process,” it concluded.
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