A new “Homecoming” initiative to welcome Irish diaspora and new visitors to Donegal has been launched by the county’s mayor.
Mayor Cora Harvey has come up with the unique Homecoming Initiative in the hope it will eventually reverse the trend that sees thousands of Irish leaving the country during the traditional St. Patricks holiday period.
She says now that St. Patricks week festivals have transcended its original incarnation with hugely popular parades and events throughout the United States, Europe and Australia. Whilst these events offer Ireland the opportunity to market itself in key markets, the message of ‘Coming to Ireland to live, do business and visit’ is often lost, she says.
In response to this and by way of establishing Donegal as the place to be during this holiday period and the traditional start of Spring, Mayor Harvey hopes that by putting in place a range of actions, this initiative will help kick off the tourism season, boosting the Donegal Tourism industry.
Mayor Harvey commented: “I think that the success of Donegal Live in 2010 and the planned events in 2011 prove that there is an appetite out there for all things Donegal. It is my opinion that we should be trying to market the St. Patrick’s Day holiday period as a fun-filled week celebrating our unique culture and heritage.”
She added: “Donegal has been at the forefront when it comes to delivering Flagship Festivals and Events. The Errigal Arts Festival’s Made in Donegal initiative in 2010 was a roaring success. In addition to this, we have the Donegal Bluestacks Festival and Mary from Dungloe to name a few.”
The Donegal Homecoming Initiative will target a number of key actions throughout 2011 with a view to developing a keynote event of international standing during the St. Patricks Festival Celebrations in 2012.
Under the Mayors proposals, there will be a multi-stakeholder approach established to deliver the Donegal Homecoming Initiative, under the auspices of Donegal County Development Board’s Tourism Sectoral Forum involving Donegal County Council, Failte Ireland, Udaras NaGaeltachta and the private sectors tourism service providers.