Nobody has to tell anyone who lives in Inishowen that we live in a beautiful peninsula.
But, it seems that people from across the world are catching on too and 2015 could be set to be the year that even more tourists than before visit our stunning shores.
Inishowen Tourism has told the Journal how they have launched 2015 with a ‘proactive’ approach to its promotional campaign for the peninsula.
It was announced earlier this year how Inishowen Tourism had secured Pobal funding to the value of €370,000.
The funding creates five full-time positions and one part-time post.
And, in the spirit of the Northern Lights that have attracted so many to the peninsula, they say it is ‘green lights galore’ ahead.
It is aimed that the forthcoming St. Patrick’s Day will be a platform to host Inishowen Tourism.
Highlights in the first quarter of this year will be Inishowen’s presence in three major UK cities – Birmingham, Nottingham and Manchester.
These St Patrick’s weekend events attracted approximately 285,000 people in 2014.
The population of Irish Diaspora in the three locations according to the Census (2011) was in the region of 730,000.
Inishowen Tourism says that as the UK is still the ‘market leader’ in terms of tourism to Inishowen it is “important that we direct our marketing efforts to this target market”.
They added: “With the currency rate in great favour of the UK tourist, Inishowen is more appealing now than ever before as a holiday destination.
Inishowen Tourism will be represented at both the Manchester and Birmingham festival
during the weekend of the March 14th.
The team will then continue their journey to Nottingham for St. Patrick’s Day, at which there is a huge and very special Inishowen connection.
John Doherty, who is originally from Carndonagh and the director of Silverdale Coach Company in Nottingham, is leading the Nottingham St. Patrick’s Day parade this year and helping to spread the word that Inishowen is a great place to visit.
Every year a different county is represented and 2015 is Donegal’s year, with Inishowen receiving a huge boost due to John’s connection.
John, who will be there to welcome Inishowen Tourism to Nottingham, told the Journal he is looking forward to welcoming Inishowen Tourism.
He said: “It’s a great honour to see Inishowen Tourism come to Nottingham to participate in the Irish celebrations.
“I am very proud of my roots and where I come from and it’s great that the professional team in Inishowen Tourism will be here to showcase my homeland in such a professional manner.”
The team told how they are also looking forward to an action-packed calendar of activity promoting the peninsula in 2015.
They said they will be utilising “face to face networking” such as this event in the three UK cities, as well as taking advantage of popular social networking channels and the print media.
They added that the opportunity to showcase Inishowen as a “must see and explore” destination has been given a fantastic boost as “The Wild Atlantic Way” gains momentum and the promotional campaign by Tourism Ireland/Failte Ireland wows audiences far and wide.
Inishowen Tourism say that with their “skilled” team in place for the year ahead, the future is bright to promote Inishowen on a national and international scale.
A priority goal is increasing ‘dwell time’ in the peninsula and a three year strategy is in place to accomplish the aims and objectives of the organisation.
Inishowen Tourism is a non-profit organisation that seeks to promote and market the vast array of tourism providers that support the hospitality services for the visitor.
With this in mind, the organisation’s main function is to “proactively reach an audience that requires a need to be met.”
They say that to satisfy the changing shifts in trends of a tourist experience, the organisation has addressed these in terms of a priority action plan.
This plan will include focusing on the major events in the calendar, such as St. Patrick’s Day, in events in key locations. They also aim to increase participation to support festivals and local community
projects and undertake Northern Ireland promotions at key shopping centres and in Northern Ireland, in locations such as Belfast Airport and the Titanic Centre.
Trade Shows are also a big asset for tourism promotion and these are carefully selected as return on investment is “paramount,”
They also want to promote and focus on the Inishowen Visitor Guide.
The publication of the Inishowen Tourism annual, updated print material and any additions to members’ details or photos are added to showcase the tourism offering we have here withing the peninsula.
They also aim to include Social Networking/Web Workshops – dedicated to members to provide social media and web assistance, training and advice as part of the individual marketing activity required by all rural sustainable businesses.
They will also focus on an online shop, selling products via the website, to include local Arts and crafts and integrate with the events schedule both here and abroad to maximise exposure of their print material and networking opportunities.
Additionally, key writers in Tourism and Leisure Travel are and will be invited to gain wider exposure in world media outlets both on and off line. There will also be continual updates on social media from the dedicated Digital Marketing team member assigned to promote the Visit Inishowen website.The team also aim to establish a Beach Trails and Marine Tourism in Inishowen platform for promotion in addition to the Heritage, Walking Arts, and Crafts Trails promotion.
A meeting is to be scheduled for all members to encourage ideas and discuss feedback
on experiences during the past year.
The team will introduce themselves and lay out the details of new developments going forward into the next three years. They have urged everyone to get on board to make this a year to remember.
They added they are “very aware” local tourism businesses are operating in challenging economic times, and that they “will endeavour to meet the needs of both visitor and members by working together.”