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Motorway market identified as saviours to Clare tourist season

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Individuals living within a 90 to 120 minute drive of Clare have been earmarked as the saviours to the tourism season in the county.

A domestic marketing campaign is to be put in place by Clare County Council with advertisements to feature in national and regional media outlets to grab the attention of potential visitors from other counties.

Addressing councillors at the June meeting of the West Clare Municipal District, Acting Head of Tourism, Deirdre O’Shea gave an insight into the plans being produced by local authority staff to entice visitors to the Banner County coinciding with the easing of restrictions. A virtual tour of Loop Head Lighthouse will be published online across their platforms to promote the most westerly point of the county.

On the potential visitors to Clare this summer, O’Shea stated, “We know it will be the domestic market, we know we will have a short summer, we will align with national campaigns, agile marketing is the way to go”.

She anticipated the elderly and young families would be those most likely to visit Clare. “We will be looking at generation X, we are very mindful that some seniors might be cautious but we will target those and generation Y”. Although the emphasis will be on the local and domestic market, “we won’t forget the international market,” O’Shea stressed.

Exploring the surrounds of Co Clare will be a focus of their promotion. “People living within a 90 to 120 minute journey is where we will target with the domestic market campaign”, she said. Emphasis will be placed on attracting visitors from Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary, Galway, Waterford, Kilkenny, Carlow, Dublin, Wicklow, Kildare, Meath, Westmeath, Laois, Offaly, Roscommon and Mayo.

As previously reported by The Clare Echo, the ten year tourism strategy which was due for publication in the spring of this year, was forced to add an additional chapter in light of COVID-19. It now includes a short to medium term action plan while looking at the overseas market. Cllr Shane Talty (FF) welcomed the “tweaking” to the strategy.

“I am more than slightly concerned with the target market, it is suggesting the motorway market would be the only one, that would be a huge problem for me because West and North Clare would be decimated,” Cllr Ian Lynch (IND) remarked. Such a plan would only result in an economic return for the main towns and villages, he felt. “Use the natural route to transfer between Kerry and Clare,” Lynch encouraged officials with O’Shea committing to looking at the “natural alignment” with Kerry and Galway.

TG4’s promotion of The Burren and the use of advertising space was lauded by Cllr Roisin Garvey (GP) and was also praised by Cllr Gabriel Keating (FG). He believed, “the engagement with the media will sell Co Clare”. He added, “The real season I thought was July, August and September but then you have October and November when you get the retirees who are the people with the money”.

Meanwhile at the June meeting of Clare County Council, Head of Finance Noeleen Fitzgerald revealed that videos to promote the county to the domestic market were in the works with a focus on Loop Head and Inis Cealtra. “We want to wet people’s appetite and get them to come to Clare”. Cllr Johnny Flynn (FG) stressed the importance of tourism to the county, “One in seven jobs in Clare was tourism related, October was the last time many of them got a pay cheque”.

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, TheJournal.ie and The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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