Tourism supports 22,500 jobs in Cork
|From left: Jeremy Murray, Anne Cahill, Seamus Heaney (head of Visit Cork) and Evelyn O'Sullivan (all Cork Convention Bureau) at the Visit Cork Industry Day.|
Visit Cork announces achievements and plans at Tourism Industry Day
Visit Cork, the official tourism body in Cork, has announced ambitious plans to increase the number of overseas visitors to the Cork region by a further 8-10% per annum at their tourism Industry Day on the 12th February at Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Little Island.
More than 200 people working in the tourism and hospitality industry in Cork attended the event, which gave an overview of Visit Cork’s achievements to date and announced future plans for the promotion of Cork for leisure tourism (Pure Cork) and business tourism (Cork Convention Bureau).
Seamus Heaney, Head of Visit Cork, revealed that significant international marketing and engagement campaigns are about to commence for Pure Cork in the UK, France and the Netherlands. These will be run in collaboration with Tourism Ireland, Cork Airport, and the Cork branch of the IHF, and will tap into the huge potential of these crucial direct flight route locations.
The French tourism market is the 4th largest market to Ireland, after the UK, US and Germany, generating 5.4 million bed nights with a 10.2 night average length of stay.
This follows on from a successful targeted campaign that took place in the US late last year, in association with Fáilte Ireland and a US Tour Operator, that focused on winning businesses in the shoulder season from October to March. It has already driven an additional 3,500 bed nights in hotels and 1,200 entries to attractions in Cork since October 2019.
Visit Cork also facilitated 10 overseas media trips to Cork in 2019.
Mr. Heaney sees huge growth potential in immersive experiences, dynamic packaging (hotels and attractions working together) and the night-time economy and he encouraged businesses to create exciting experiences and offers in the evening to ensure overnight stays and a longer dwell time for tourists in the region.
He also encouraged businesses to submit offers to ‘Green is the New Black’, a new tourism Ireland initiative for St Patrick’s Day.
Sustainability was a key theme on the day. Visit Cork is now ranked on the Global Destination Sustainability Index and stressed that sustainability it is paramount to everything that tourism businesses do going forward.
Meanwhile, Sam Johnston Manager of the Regional Convention Bureau of Ireland, said, “Sustainable tourism and our ‘green credentials’ are crucial to future proof our industry. All businesses need to consider what they are doing in this area”.
He said that Fáilte Ireland is committed to growing regional business tourism even further, through an SLA (Service Level Agreement), funding a new resource for Cork Convention Bureau, destination development strategies and a new Ireland Directory.
Cork Convention Bureau announced a new collaborative event called ‘A Tale of 3 Cities’, which will see Cork, Dublin and Belfast work together to pitch for overseas MICE (Meetings, Incentive, Corporate and Events) business in the Netherlands. They are partnering on this initiative with one of Ireland’s key DMC’s (Destination Management Company), Dublin Convention Bureau, Belfast Convention Bureau, Tourism Ireland, and the two airlines operating direct Cork-AMS routes, Aer Lingus and KLM.
Summing up the value of tourism to the Cork economy, Seamus Heaney said, “One in ten jobs are currently in the tourism and hospitality sector, and 22 cents from every euro that a tourist spends goes back into the exchequer. Tourism supports 22,500 jobs in Cork, with almost 1000 tourism businesses, festivals and events currently listed on the purecork.ie website, the official City and County tourism website.
“Pure Cork is a hinge between the two main tourism propositions of Ireland’s Ancient East and the Wild Atlantic Way, so we encourage all businesses to upload their listings to our website purecork.ie so we can help to promote you nationally and internationally.”
Also commenting, Ger O Mahoney, Chair of Visit Cork, said, “Visit Cork aims to drive tourism by 8-10% per year and we are working with the Irish Hotels Federation Cork branch to secure a dedicated fund for Cork marketing to drive growth.”
Commenting on the growth of business tourism, Evelyn O Sullivan, Manager at Cork Convention Bureau, said, “In 2019, €11 million was generated through conference and business tourism in Cork, with a further €22m worth of business confirmed up to 2022.
“Last year we undertook a Cork Convention Bureau Strategy and Road Map 2020 – 2023 with a focus on driving business tourism in the Cork region. It found that Cork excels at attracting international association conferences, so there is huge potential to target this sector even further in the year ahead, working closely with Fáilte Ireland, to grow Cork as a destination of choice for conference business.
“We have set out an ambitious target to continue to grow revenues and delegate numbers into Cork by 8-10% per annum in key identified sectors such as food and agril, STEM, Space and Maritime. The key to winning more business events is identifying these top market segments to target in accordance with Cork’s available tourism product to ensure a high potential of Cork winning the business”.
Cork Convention Bureau has brought over 70,000 international delegates to the region, generating over €100m in revenues since 2010.
Event partners Fáilte Ireland unveiled their €6 million ‘Keep Discovering’ campaign, which aims to grow the domestic tourism market by reminding people of all there is to discover across Ireland. Those attending were given insights and tools on how to leverage the campaign for the benefit of their business and the local region. While Eoin Kennedy from Zone Digital gave advice on how to take advantage of social media for both MICE and leisure tourism.
For further information on Pure Cork see www.purecork.ie and for further information on Cork Convention Bureau see www.corkconventionbureau.ie.