Irish tourism board creates D.I.Y. kits for historic towns

Westport House, Mayo

Failte Ireland, an organization that guides and supports the development of a sustainable tourism sector in Ireland, has come up with a guide to help towns in Ireland pull their socks up in an effort to attract new business.

The Historic Towns in Ireland Guidelines contains a number of useful tips for town councils, chamber of commerce and tidy town's committees on how to improve their areas.

The idea of the guidelines is to transform the towns into a "compelling place of history" in an effort to get tourists to the area.

The information in the guide was compiled after 1,000 visitors from overseas was surveyed in 10 of Ireland's most historic towns.

Some of the towns that were surveyed included Dingle in Co. Kerry and Westport in Co. Mayo.

According to Alex Connolly of Failte Ireland, these towns "have a story to tell and tell it well."

According to Fáilte Ireland, the guidelines “provide towns with a DIY kit of simple steps to influence their visitors’ experience."

Some of the recommendations in the guidelines included improving quality of places to stay, providing festivals and markets throughout the year and spruce up some old buildings.

Some of the negative comments by the tourists surveyed included poor signposting, low quality public toilets and few displays of public art.

Mary King of Fáilte Ireland’s policy and futures division said: “While familiarity may not breed contempt, it certainly can breed complacency. Many towns in Ireland may not realize the wealth of their town’s historical attractions, and how much it is worth to them from a tourism perspective.”

Connolly said, “Irish towns are sitting on a massive tourism potential,” Mr Connolly said.

“Many have a story to tell, but may not be telling it as well as they can.”