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Arts plus Tourism equals More Visitors and Higher Revenue for Ireland

Fáilte Ireland and The Arts Council look to increase visitors by driving tourism in the arts

A full scale mobilisation of the arts sector to support Irish tourism could reap great benefits. This was the clear message delivered today as Fáilte Ireland and the Arts Council today hosted a cultural tourism seminar in Farmleigh designed to give almost 100 arts organisations from around the country the practical tools needed to attract visitors.

Culture and heritage is a key driver for Irish tourism contributing an estimated €2 billion to the Irish economy last year with research showing that cultural visitors spend almost twice as much as city-break visitors. Furthermore, overseas visitors experience high levels of satisfaction with what Ireland has to offer with almost four out of every five overseas visitors citing “interesting history/culture” as a motivation for choosing Ireland for a holiday making it a viable area for the growth in visitor numbers and revenue.

Today’s event provided arts organisations with practical insights into the tourism industry. Attendees heard from a number of speakers on how they can look at how their own business can become involved in tourism and begin working with local tourism businesses to grow their audience and improve their business while maintaining the high quality and creativity of their work.

Today’s speakers included Gary Lowthian, Strategic Tourism Ltd. who gave insights into how arts organisations in Britain have successfully engaged with tourism, using practical case studies from Dover and Yorkshire. Tourism marketing consultants Ruth Andrews and Annette also addressed the gathering, detailing how arts organisations can work with the travel trade in their local area, and how they can develop their business from a tourism perspective using a practical three year plan to grow their visitor base.

Arts Council Director Mary Cloake and Fáilte Ireland Head of Leisure Tourism, Insights and Innovation Orla Carroll pointed to growing evidence that culture and tourism could act as a powerful combination to attract people and investment to Ireland. Both agencies said they were delighted to be working in partnership, looking for ways to leverage more business for both the arts and tourism sectors of Ireland.

Orla Carroll, Head of Leisure Tourism, Insights and Innovation said:

“Our own research has shown that cultural tourists are economically attractive, and have higher income levels than average for the broader population. Taking all of this on board, we believe that our culture and heritage can drive further growth and development within the tourism industry and can present a truly unique source of comparative advantage with the arts sector adding an invaluable layer to Ireland’s cultural offering.”

She added her hopes that developing this sector of tourism with the arts sector would provide ever more rewarding and meaningful experiences and holidays to visitors, and hailed the seminar as a significant step towards that goal”.

Mary Cloake, Director of The Arts Council said:

“Our new strategic approach commits us to working closely with Fáilte Ireland in the months and years ahead, and I am delighted to see such a strong nationwide representation from the arts sector at this conference. We want to strengthen the ability of arts organisations to attract visitors and to see the arts play its full role in boosting tourism in 2011.”

Permalink - Posted: November 18, 2010 at 4:50 pm