Rivals join forces to bring 'staycationers' to Leitrim
SINCE the downturn took hold, many people have lowered their expectations of what they can and cannot do. One of the things that has gone out the window for many people is the idea that multiple foreign holidays every year are possible.
To that end, the "staycation" has become a crucial market for tourism boards around the country.
Leitrim Tourism has put the staycation tourist front and centre with its new brand "Leitrim, Explore, Experience, Enjoy" and, according to the chairman of Leitrim Tourism, Joe Dolan (right), Carrick-on-Shannon is benefiting greatly from the influx of domestic visitors.
"Carrick is rapidly establishing itself as one of the most progressive and fastest-growing inland resorts in the country. There has never been as many people coming to Carrick," said Mr Dolan, who also owns the Bush Hotel in the town.
Carrick has seen changes in the demographic visiting the town to the extent that the surrounding area now attracts "younger tourists" (people between 25 and 35), families and older tourists.
Mr Dolan puts the influx of younger tourists to the town down to the growth of the credit card company MBNA, whose office in Carrick now employs more than a thousand people, while a variety of improvements have been made to Carrick itself in recent years, especially around the quays.
Mr Dolan believes that the improvements made to the town, combined with a favourable pricing structure for most hotels and bed and breakfasts, make Carrick an attractive proposition for Irish tourists.
"Innovative packaging of accommodation and activities and attractions has been critical to Carrick's success. [Rates at some hotels can include] a complimentary entry to the Arigna Mining Museum or a river cruise. Meanwhile, the town centre Bush Hotel and adjacent Landmark Hotel, whilst competing on many fronts, combine their accommodation capacity in marketing to the conference market and as a result have jointly hosted national events such as the Chief Fire Officers Annual Conference.
"It's all about tourism providers working together innovatively to produce great value packages."
In this latest "age of austerity", value has become the key factor for most tourists. The actions being taken by Leitrim Tourism are noteworthy and in keeping with the times.