Dundalk Chamber’s first in-person Cross Border Tourism Conference since pandemic a massive success

Brendan McSherry Heritage Officer Louth County Council, Frazer Coupland Locaber Chamber of Commece, Frank O Brien Louth Local Development, Picturred at Dundalk Chamber of Commerce's Tourism Conference were: Una McGoey President Dundalk Chamber, Saran Mallon Local Enterprise Office Louth, John Fitzgerald Glass Box Events, Pol O Conghaile Travel Writer, Ooonagh Messette Celtic Routes, Colette Moss Louth County Council, Michael Gaynor Dundalk Chamber, Ursula Newry Chamber and Kieran Swail Southern Regional College

Margaret RoddyThe Argus

Dundalk Chamber held their first in-person Cross Border Tourism Conference since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the beautiful surroundings of Carlingford’s Four Seasons Hotel last Wednesday. The event had been held online due for the past three years due to COVID-19 restrictions so it was great to welcome attendees back.

With over 200 booked in the event, which was sponsored by Louth Local Development, Louth County Council, Local Enterprise Office Louth, Newry Chamber and The Marshes Shopping Centre, was a resounding success.

The  conference brought together experts from various tourism projects around Ireland and the UK  to share their stories so that attendees could consider replicating their ideas in their own business. There were practical tips and workshops on how to improve ourism businesses so as to increase sales and boost attendance figures at their attraction.

Speakers included Pol O’ Conghaile, Travel Editor with the Irish Independent who  highlighted 10 new travel trends in 2023 and beyond where community, connectivity, creativity, and sustainability will be ever-present. Pol noted that the sentiment for travel is holding up with shorter trips and visitors seeking to connect to the “Great Outdoors”.

Collette Moss of Louth County Council outlined the Council’s commitment to events and trails such as The Festival of Lights, The Tain Trail, Sea Louth, and the planned St Brigid’s Festival. Collette also acknowledged the work of the Louth Enterprise Office in supporting micro businesses.

Oonagh Messette from the Celtic Routes Project outlined how the project has evolved with the creation of a diverse range of digital assets such as Celtic Connections which is a “compendium of experiences to connect visitors to the Celtic Spirit.”

Wayne Denner introduced the concepts of ‘return on relationships’  and ‘human-centered marketing’  and demonstrated the application of ChatGPT to tourism. ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence chatbot that allows humanlike conversations.

Frazer Coupland from Lochaber Chamber of Commerce discussed how their  ‘Outdoor Capital of the UK’ brand evolved and the challenges and opportunities of managing visitors and peak times and in the shoulder season.

Frank O’Brien, Chair of Louth Leader Partnership restated the Company’s position in supporting the event, which was chaired by Kieran Swail of the Southern Regional College with Brendan McSherry Heritage Officer with Louth County Council chairing the question and answer session at the end.

Brendan the organising committee, the sponsors, the presenters, and Kieran Swail, from Southern Regional College for facilitating the Conference.

There was an opportunity for attendees to network at the breaks and during lunch and visit the 30 trade stands on the day.