Blackrock nominated for top tourism award

A view from Blackrock

A view from Blackrock

Blackrock has been included on a shortlist of 15 towns and villages around the country being considered for the 2014 Tourism Towns Award – a competition aimed at recognising areas which go the extra mile to enhance their appeal to tourists.

Blackrock has been nominated in the ‘small town’ category, which will see it go up against the likes of Lismore and Ardmore in Waterford, Belmullet in Mayo, Carrick-on-Shannon in Leitrim, Portmagee in Kerry and the Cork trio of Glengarriff, Kinsale and Rosscarbery.

Kilkenny was last year’s overall winner and it is once again nominated in the ‘large town’ category along with Ennis, Cobh, Killarney, Westport and Trim.

Last year’s small town award went to Mulranny in Mayo.

The 15 towns will now be visited by a team of assessors who will look at how each town presents itself to visitors and tells its story. In particular, they will look for evidence of a high quality visitor experience and of involvement by the local community and businesses in delivering this experience. They will look at the quality of its attractions and sites of interest and how well the town promotes what they have to offer.

Paddy Mathews from Fáilte Ireland emphasised the important characteristics of a tourism town and the how the award scheme seeks to recognise them.

“These are towns that have already performed well in the Tidy Towns Competition in 2013, so we know that they are clean and well presented. Now we want to know how well they present themselves to their visitors.

“A great tourism town is one that provides visitors with an unforgettable experience. It is a town where the local businesses and the local community all contribute to shaping and delivering this experience. It also tells its story of its heritage and culture in an engaging way.”

Now in its third year, the award will continue to 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”.

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