Monday 26 September 2016

'Ireland's Hidden Gem' - New Offaly tourism brand aims to create 700 jobs

Midlands magic

Published 29/09/2015 | 11:49

Lisa Kavanagh at Lough Boora Parklands for the launch of Offaly's Tourism Strategy, which is expected to boost tourism figures and create some 700 jobs by 2020. Photo: Jeff Harvey
Lisa Kavanagh at Lough Boora Parklands for the launch of Offaly's Tourism Strategy, which is expected to boost tourism figures and create some 700 jobs by 2020. Photo: Jeff Harvey

Offaly is rebranding itself as 'Ireland's hidden Gem' in an effort to boost tourism and create hundreds of new jobs in the county.

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The new tourism brand was launched at Lough Boora yesterday by Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring TD. 

It comes as part of a €100,000 campaign by Offaly Tourism Group to double visitor numbers and create up to 700 new jobs by 2020.

“Offaly has a number of distinct advantages, not least in terms of the richness of the natural assets and cultural heritage in the area, but also, its central location in the heart of Ireland and the easy access from several gateway points," Minister Ring said.

The marketing campaign also includes a revamped website, offalytourism.com, which is set to re-launch in a couple of weeks, Independent Travel has learned.

Despite tourism attractions like Clonmacnoise, Birr Castle, Lough Boora Discovery Park and the Slieve Blooms, Offaly currently attracts just 37,000 visitors a year.

Lisa Kavanagh at Lough Boora Parklands for the launch of the rebranding of Offaly's Tourism Strategy, which is expected to boost tourism figures and create some 700 jobs locally by 2020. Photo: Jeff Harvey
Lisa Kavanagh at Lough Boora Parklands for the launch of the rebranding of Offaly's Tourism Strategy, which is expected to boost tourism figures and create some 700 jobs locally by 2020. Photo: Jeff Harvey

By 2020, the Offaly Tourism Group hopes to grow that number to 75,000 and increase tourism revenue to €8 million, it said in a statement.

"By getting behind this Tourism Brand we can create new jobs and boost the local economy and make sure that Offaly gets its fair share of the tourism pie,” said Eamonn Dooely, Cathaoirleach of Offaly County Council.

At the launch, Minister Ring highlighted the role Local Authorities have in supporting tourism development, and commended Offaly County Council, the Local Community Development Committee and Offaly Tourism Group for their initiative.

He urged close collaboration with Fáilte Ireland and other partners to "fully integrate" Offaly's tourism product with the Ireland’s Ancient East initiative.

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