WHILE tourism is currently and consistently performing at a level that is a major contributor to the current buoyancy of Killarney, a degree of caution must be adopted in terms of the future outlook, local businesses have been advised.
Detailed research, conducted by a consultancy firm on behalf of Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce, stresses the need for investment infrastructure to increase the carrying capacity of the town, particularly in terms of its ability to manage increasing traffic and visitor volumes.
There is also a need to support direct international access to the west coast to contribute to balanced economic development and to tackle the issue of regionality.
Killarney has also been urged to prepare properly for the Brexit challenge and to build on the area’s strong appeal within the North American and European markets to offset any potential risk in the UK marketplace.
The research was commissioned in 2017 and the study was conducted by W2 Consulting who interviewed local businesses and several hundred visitors to the town.
The findings have been presented to Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce and the report was officially launched by Junior Tourism Minister, Brendan Griffin, this Monday.
The consultants suggest that the product mix in the town should be enhanced to build its capacity to attract and retain visitors, with more indoor visitor attractions and extended evening economy options, and they stress the need for investment in key products to address seasonality challenges.
“Killarney retains a position of national tourism importance and is accepted as an exemplar of best practice in many facets of tourism delivery. In order to preserve this positioning, and evolve to the next level, Killarney must continue on a programme of continuous improvement through strategic investment,” the report recommends.
The extensive document notes that the tourism industry must ensure the quality of the visitor experience is not compromised and commit to invest in the town’s supporting infrastructure.
Equally, the private sector must ensure standards, service levels and product innovation remain to the forefront of all future planning.
On the considerable issue of seasonality, the level of dependency on tourism in the area suggests it must become a strategic prerogative and an examination of new indoor attractors and investment in product areas, to support the growth of segments such as business tourism to counteract the challenges of seasonality, is required.
“Adopting this approach through targeted investment and ensuring the appropriate infrastructure exists will be central to addressing the issues of regionality and seasonality.
“Consideration is required in the product investment categories that will promote an extension of the season in Killarney and ensure the cycle of economic benefits continues to evolve, impacting the entire county and tourism product base,” the report states.
This report, launched by Minister Griffin at a function in the Aghadoe Heights Hotel, this Monday morning, is the first of its kind to define the economic impact of tourism in Killarney.
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