independent

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Most tourists would NOT recommend the region to friends

Niamh Keegan

Published 16/08/2014 | 00:00

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Over half of the tourists to the South East last year would not recommend the region to a friend, according to a study carried out by Fáilte Ireland.

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Caeman Wall, the head of research at Fáilte Ireland, said hundreds of overseas and domestic tourists in 2013 were asked why and where they enjoyed most in the country, and the results showed that all regions are working to a very high standard.

West Cork won the greatest approval among holidaymakers and ranks the highest in the land, with some 73% visitors saying they would encourage others to spend time there.

The sunny South East however scored second lowest, with just 48% of holiday makers impressed enough to recommend the region to others. The Shannon Corridor was bottom of the pack, with just 37% of tourists eager to send their friends there.

The attractions most highlighted by tourists within Co. Wexford included Hook Lighthouse, Dunbrody Famine Ship, The National Heritage Park, Enniscorthy Castle, Johnstown Castle and Kia Ora Mini Farm near Courtown.

When asked what they thought of dining out in the South East, 48% of visitors said they thought food preparation was 'very good' and 45% believed the ingredients were fresh. This was in stark contrast however to West Cork, where 70% of tourists thought the food preparation and freshness were 'very good'.

The study also revealed that just 28% of the visitors to the South East believed they got value for money in their dining experience, while in West Cork 45% of tourists walked away from their dining tables satisfied they had received a good dinner deal.

According to Caeman, a product or service is not necessarily better in one region than another, but what may be lacking is the same level of slick up-selling and cross selling of attractions.

'It's all about the story and what the tourist is told, so perhaps the holidaymakers were not told what, where and how the food they were eating was caught or produced, nor any link drawn to some local historical site or experience, because generally speaking the more talk the tourist has with locals, the more positive their feedback,' he said.

Fáilte Ireland is working on a themed attraction for the South East region, on a par with 'The Wild Atlantic Way', in a bid to draw more tourists to the region.

According to Caeman, the theme for the South East region's 'slice of Ireland' may focus on the historical and cultural attractions, working along the lines of 'Ireland Through the Ages' or something like that,' he said.

'We see counties but tourists do not, so for the South East we have to present a 'slice of Ireland' and once that is done it has to be owned and adopted by the trade and business people in the region, because they are the people that make tourists happy, and not Failte Ireland,' he said.

The study divided Ireland up to the regions of the South East, West Cork, Cork City, the Ring of Kerry, Dingle Peninsula, Shannon Corridor and Clare, Galway and Mayo, Donegal and Sligo, Dublin's Doorstep, and Dublin City.

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