Local Rural Tourism Development Network. Visitor Information Point
Re Cultways, LIMES
Tourism growth in Ireland must be applauded, except for those rural areas without the necessary infrastructure to embrace this potential. Tourism in Ireland is an estimated €7,68Billion with an expected annual growth of 3% to 2030 Failte Ireland. VIP seeks to develop a local, rural cultural trails in rural Ireland. The model can be replicated and amended to operate as a network, or in conjunction with the Wild Atlantic Way. Irelands Ancient East, Irelands Hidden Heartland. This is a dual tourism development/economic enhancement project, bringing an additional tier of quality tourist products
In is basic form Tourism has two pillars, Content and Communication.
Visitor Information Point is about consolidation of historical and cultural. The obvious and logical start point is local content. This can be supplemented by access to the archives in Duchas, Local Heritage Officer, Logainm, Office of Public Works and other historical archives in the University and Religious sectors. Some content may be digitized while this work may yet to be done in other areas. The addition of video footage can also increase impact.
The Culturally Curious market segmentation suggest more interest in rural Ireland to fully understand the REAL experience. This report alludes to a weather indifferent visitor and a longer season.
The pre-development discussion is one of scale, opt for minimum content or build a localized, physical Information centre. . Some sites may have an existing local structure/monument or aspire to the creation of local focal point.. Each option will require a separate development path. The overall objective must be a linked local information network to be offered with existing structures
There is evident potential for many Rural Development groups.. This as much about a local tourism as local economic development
The basic objective is to provide a high standard local history/cultural mix for incoming visitors. VIP offers the visitor a local itinerary of high quality content in a simple user friendly manner
The advanced option could extent to an archival collection, a series of local site visits. Some site visits may not be accessible in view of Health and Safety standards
The premium option is to consider VIP as a local development platform for wider tourist related issues/leisure events/summer schools
It should be noted that any and all development must provide some level of income
QRVO, Quick Response Voice Over is recommended as a primary channel. This is Smart Tourism
This is a smartphone accessible, alphanumeric code, with the flexibility to include text, audio and video. The user scans the code for immediate access, no password, etc.
This can be supplemented by Social Media, a localized web page, APPs, Facebook, Google Mapping and whatever is deemed most effective.
There may be some prevailing disquiet about some elements of social media and local management may be best placed to determine the final channels selection
The communications strategy is a tiered development, introduce and validate in terms of impact, graduating to Virtual Reality
The Primary objective is to develop an effective local culture/historical platform together with the means to monetize the structure. Individual platforms become part of a wider, and local network framework to add synergies, scale and impact. The logical expectation is a partial association of existing Wild Atlantic Way, Irelands Hidden Heartlands, and Irelands Ancient East. The project however will be expected to develop on its own commercial merits
The key points are quality of product (content) and quality delivery (communications and service). The key targets segments are Social Energisers, Great Escapes and Culturally Curious
The goal is the introduction of a market led, rural based, tourism and activity information network. This is an initial template .The early process is to engage with properly constituted rural development groups. The project partners will include LEOs, LEADER, Teagasc, Failte Ireland Department of Rural and Community Development
Content Partners will include Local Historical Groups, Duchas, Local Authority Heritage Officers, Office of Public Works, OPW Logainm, Federation of local history societies, Creative Ireland. Irish Community Archive Network
Wider research will include Limes, Cultways
The tiered development will lead with the Historical and Cultural elements. In some areas it may be feasible to introduce and promote leisure activities
Objectives, Structure, Strategy Timeline and Training
The Objective is the Needs Analysis/Community development requirements. These will be reviewed by Project Management group and become a part of a conventional Business Plan. It may emerge that a local economic platform may be considered to drive an assertive tourism development agenda
The lead participant must be a correctly constituted community body. The support element should include Leader, Leo, Failte Ireland, Department of Rural development, Udaras, Westbic, and Teagasc. An apolitical IOM, Independent Operations Management will drive core development
The Content Access will require dialogue with Local Historical Societies, Local Authority Heritage Officer, Duchas, Logainm and other academic and religious sources. Some, or all of this content may need to be digitized and include audio-visual for added impact
This element will be determined by the Objectives components. The logical and early step is to network peer, and local communities. Each community retains individuality and specific offerings but gains in scale and impact. The network/cluster model provides real synergies. In South Mayo there is nearly a natural cluster in Ballinrobe, Carnacon, Ballintubber, , Belcarra. A similar opportunity could exist in the General Humbert trail from North Mayo. Effective linages could include the Pyramid in the Neale and the real tangible Titanic connection. Variations can be deployed in most of Rural Ireland
Each development unit will be encouraged to adopt an online presence, which in turn will be included in a wider County Marketing Company, which provides an online ecommerce platform to Micro enterprises in the county
The general strategy is to consolidate all relevant content and to distribute/present at target rural location
What are we selling and to whom?
We are selling a new generation of quality cultural information products.VIP is a local, county or regional network providing quality information
This could involve an audio visual presentation of a solitary monument in a rural environ. This can progress to a local information centre presenting local content and or site visits to local cultural sites
Rather than a once off experience, each VIP site is networked with neighbouring peers and an associated presentation. It is intended that the content will evolve each season
The primary target market is the Culturally Curious.
This will be influences by individual project content. The project will be tiered with an initial operational presence in a three month period
VIP presents as a template adaptable to every section in rural Ireland. Potential may be muted where a local hub may consist of a single monument. VIP can transform this into an AV centre piece. In most situations there may be a basis for a much larger potential is offered, a local centre for wider development.
Customer service is of critical importance and is a key strategic element
The overall objective is to bring an added dimension to economic and cultural landscapes in rural Ireland. The consequence is that rural Ireland can access and gain from this market potential. This proposal also enhances the more traditional market offerings