08 August 2012
The top ten “Highly Commended Tourism Towns” will be announced at the National TidyTowns Awards in the Helix on September 10th with the overall winner to be announced by Fáilte Ireland in November. The top ten towns will each receive €1,000 with the winner receiving a further €10,000.
The Award has been designed to help Irish towns and villages enhance their appeal to tourists visiting their local area. Building on the TidyTowns seal of approval, we invited the 100 top scoring towns from the 2011 TidyTown Competition to apply for the very first Tourism Towns Award.
Welcoming the new scheme, Leo Varadkar Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport said –
“A strong tourism sector can contribute greatly to the economic viability of a local community, and this new award is another step towards supporting Irish towns and villages to provide visitors with a welcoming and enjoyable experience while at the same time boosting local business.
“I am very much looking forward to the announcement of the top ten and the overall winner later in the year – best of luck and sincere thanks to all those towns and communities involved.”
This new award is being piloted as part of the 2012 National TidyTowns Competition. It is offering towns, which finished among the top 100 towns in last year’s competition, the chance to build on their achievement in 2011 and develop their local area into one that welcomes, involves and satisfies the visitor.
The award will focus on how participating towns have developed their local area in the following key tourism areas:
Sense of Place – How the town tells its own unique story to visitors, what’s special about it, and what distinguishes it from other towns.
Local Involvement - How the local community works together to provide an authentic visitor experience.
Tourism Products Available – What the town has to offer visitors.
Development and promotion of the town – How the town takes a unified approach to marketing and developing the town into a “tourism town”.
Gordon Gaffney, Manager of our Destination Development Division, highlighted the characteristics of a tourism town and the mechanics of the award scheme –
“A good tourism town is not alone a tidy town, after all first impressions are very important but the role that communities play in welcoming visitors and telling the story of the local area all add significantly to the enjoyment that visitors have.”
“We have taken great care in drawing up the assessment criteria, ensuring that towns receiving an award have enhanced the experience of their visitors, improved their local ‘tourism offering’ and encouraged community wide participation in the development of local tourism.”