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    Tour guides take centre stage at the Abbey Theatre

    Tour guides take centre stage at the Abbey Theatre

    Tour guides across Ireland’s Ancient East will be put through their paces at the Abbey Theatre today as part of a Fáilte Ireland initiative to develop world-class visitor experiences at attractions across the region.

    Fáilte Ireland research shows that the quality of tour guides and storytelling at an attraction are key drivers of satisfaction for overseas tourists.

    The National Tourism Development Authority has so far this year provided Abbey Theatre masterclasses for over 17 head tour guides through the theatre’s ‘Theatre Skills for Business’ programme.

    The guides, from attractions such as Loftus Hall in Wexford, Mount Congreve Gardens in Waterford and Cork’s Fota House, are trained on how to craft a compelling story, engage their audience, and deliver an interactive tour that brings local history and culture to life.

    The results of the masterclass will be showcased by tour guides at the Abbey Theatre this morning.

    The programme is part of the National Tourism Development Authority's work to develop immersive visitor experiences. It also feeds into plans to create visitor experiences focused on the rich array of gardens and historic houses in Ireland’s Ancient East, which are key motivators for international visitors with research showing that almost 3 million tourists visit a house or castle during their stay in Ireland.

    Jenny De Saulles, Fáilte Ireland’s Head of Ireland’s Ancient East, said:
    “We know tourists actively seek out experiences that are interactive, hands-on and which bring local heritage to life. This is something that is central to the Ireland’s Ancient East brand. Tour guides are story tellers and where better to learn how to bring a story to life than at our cherished National Theatre of Ireland, the Abbey Theatre. The masterclasses will enable these talented guides to hone their skills and deliver unforgettable tours which stand out and contribute to Ireland’s reputation as a top-class tourist destination.”

    Marie Lawlor from the Theatre Skills for Business programme at the Abbey Theatre added:
    "As Ireland’s National Theatre we are delighted to work with Fáilte Ireland as part of their initiative to enhance visitor experiences at attractions throughout the country. Through our Theatre Skills for Business programme, we have used skills from theatre as a basis to unlock the creativity of tour guides and to give them the skills to craft and deliver engaging, authentic and vibrant stories that will motivate  visitors to act as ambassadors for Ireland and encourage them to return in the future."

    Ray Sinnott, Estate Manager at Mount Congreve Trust, said:
    "From our point of view, the training Fáilte Ireland has provided us with through this masterclass by the Abbey Theatre has helped us to focus on what’s best about our tours so that we can now tell the story of Mount Congreve to our audience in a clear, understandable and enjoyable way without losing any of its authenticity. The skills learned will mean that the delivery of that story can only add to the overall enjoyment for visitors and guides alike." 

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