As we welcome a New Year definitely feeling the bite of the wet and wild weather wise, Inishowen Tourism are pleased to welcome 2016 attending the January Holiday Shows in Belfast and Dublin in the coming weeks. Putting our best foot forward alongside other Donegal tourism colleagues affords us the chance to enthuse in the passion we have about Inishowen, and why we are worth going that far north for; those that make the journey, don’t leave disappointed!
As record numbers of visitors during 2015 were unexpectedly stronger than predicted, final stats are being collated to assess the trends that are changing, as to where visitors were coming from, and in what capacity. It was at times difficult to accommodate those arriving ad hoc without prior bookings in terms of beds last summer, every effort was made to keep our visitors in the Peninsula, and encouraging them to come back. As the momentum of “The Wild Atlantic Way” captures the attention of the potential traveller, it gains traction to make Ireland, the Northwest, a destination to visit. Is it possible that we are now the road undiscovered, being discovered? As far as the international traveller is concerned, we may finally shake of the “forgotten county” syndrome and showcase our very own stretch of the Wild Atlantic Way here in the Peninsula as the true jewel in the crown at Irelands Most Northerly Point.
Good News arrived before Christmas as confirmation from the Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring TD had announced that over €396,000 will be awarded to Donegal County Council for a second phase in the development of visitor facilities at Malin Head. Community development, and engagement is paramount, it is a priority this year for Inishowen Tourism to partake in the effort to develop what we have on offer, support its members and visitors alike, to strike a balance between conservation of the environment, promotion, and providing a place that exceeds all expectations in terms of scenery, culture, and the attractions that make us unique.
The great sense of community welcome is felt all around the Peninsula, both in tourism provider’s establishments and local businesses. As the Tourism Development Officer here, I am very fortunate that being based in the office meeting and greeting visitors in between the promotions, press releases, articles, and blogging, means I engage with the “customer” face to face. In marketing terms, other companies spend large sums of money on consumer behaviour to try to gage what influences the decision process when choosing one destination over another. Seeing the person, who they are, what are their expectations? What can we do to meet their needs and wants in terms of the visitor experience? Capturing this knowledge and recording it adds value as we determine target markets to focus on maximising potential visitor numbers. According to one visitor who called into the Buncrana office they stated “it was heart-warming that people actually stop and take time to make sure you get to see and do what you really want when here. They couldn’t be more helpful, and the scenery is nothing other than breathtaking, I will be back with other friends and tell people how unspoilt this place is, how tidy it is, and how you can just get away from it all here, truly priceless in terms of choosing a holiday in Ireland.
In the coming weeks the tourism column will highlight the all important facts and figures, bring you the news as it unfolds in the sector, and seasonal events to attend. Right now it’s cold outside, take a short stroll along one the many walks we have in our Inishowen Walking Guide, grab a bite to eat in our many cafes and restaurants, or listen to local music, over a pint and open fire! Check out the visiting bands to the region listed on our website around the Peninsula, and should you have something to share, images, an activity, or a story to tell, email us, or contact us on facebook. We are happy to hear from you. If you want to join us as a member or renew your membership it’s that time of year, to hit the refresh button, get on board with Inishowen Tourism today and help us in the journey to get the word out there, clicking our heels and saying that “there is no place quite like Inishowen”. Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org