Local businessman hits back at tourist group
Are counties like Roscommon getting a fair slice of the Irish tourism pie? Or is more of an effort being made to promote areas such as the Wild Atlantic Way, Dublin and Ireland’s Ancient East?
Local businessman, Eamonn Gleeson, who along with his wife Mary runs Gleeson’s Townhouse (and B&B) in Roscommon town, certainly feels more should be done to promote Roscommon and the Midlands and Lakelands regions of Ireland.
Indeed, Mr. Gleeson made his feelings abundantly clear to Fáilte Ireland after they issued an email appealing for businesses in the hospitality sector to renew their membership with the tourism group.
Gleeson’s Townhouse has been a member of the group for many years but proprietor Eamonn questioned whether a renewal was worthwhile in an email that he recently sent to Fáilte Ireland.
In the email, Mr. Gleeson highlighted the work his business has done in promoting Ireland as a tourist destination while criticising the high costs associated in taking part in various fairs and exhibitions.
He stated: “We worked for years with Tourism Ireland as ‘stowaways’ on Tourism Ireland’s very successful promotions abroad and certainly played a part in that success. We paid for our flights and sometimes Tourism Ireland paid for one night’s hotel accommodation.
“There is no doubt that Tourism Ireland benefitted by having a ‘live’ accommodation provider with an Irish accent on their stand. We always sold ‘Destination Ireland’ first and then hopefully we would benefit if the traveller chose to visit the Midlands/Roscommon area.
“We did on occasions benefit directly from contacts made from having a presence with Tourism Ireland.
“Tourism Ireland (are) charging €990 for the upcoming fair with Tourism Ireland at Italy’s main travel trade event in Rimini from October 12th to October 14th – plus we are liable for all our travel and accommodation expenses.
“Another example: it will cost €1,500 to attend the 2017 USA Jump Into Ireland events in November 2017.
“Small family-owned hotels and accommodation providers, which are the backbone of rural tourism, simply cannot afford these fees.
“The Lakelands/midlands area is totally forgotten, we don’t feature at all. The three areas taking pride of place on www.failteireland.ie are the Wild Atlantic Way, Ancient East and Dublin.
“There are more and more unregistered accommodations using Airbnb, TripAdvisor and booking.com to get business in which is totally understandable but not in the best interests of regulation and ensuring that the visitor has the best possible experience while visiting Ireland.”
Mr. Gleeson went on to state that his business hadn’t met with a tourism officer in recent years and that one hadn’t been available in Co. Roscommon. He added that the entire midlands and Lakelands region had been forgotten about by those promoting tourism in Ireland.