Bundoran native, Martina Bromley was always at the forefront of tourism in Donegal and it came as little surprise that she was chosen to succeed Paul McLoone in one of the most prestigious and demanding positions in tourism recently. Paul McLoone headed up the team of Fáilte Ireland since 2006 and now Ms. Bromley has been appointed head of operations, in the leading organisation in the North West. Mr McLoone retired from his position earlier this month.
Martina is a senior manager with over 25 years of experience in management and business development both in the domestic and international markets. She has been involved for ten years in tourism and working in various senior roles within Fáilte Ireland in the North West and, previously, the North West Regional Tourism Authority. Before that, she worked with in a number of high profile marketing and business development roles in the private sector.
Ms. Bromley said: “The Donegal brand is a really, really strong brand. Donegal is a very large county and has so much to offer. We have further work to do in Sligo and Leitrim. Sligo would be associated with music and concerts while Leitrim would be predominantly associated with angling and cruising. There will be a lot of focus on bringing people together through training and upskilling people on overseas business and online. We need to build on opportunities and 78 per cent of trade is done online. There is real opportunity to look at the overseas marke and take a pro-active approach,” she said.
She added that the Irish Open in Portrush is one that will attract major tourism to Donegal this August. “We have excellent golf courses in Donegal. Donegal stands to gain a lot from the Irish Open that will take place in Port Rush this August. During the event golfers will come and use Donegal as their accomadation base and use the excellent resources that we have to offer them,” she said.
Fáilte Ireland CEO, Shaun Quinn said: “I want to wish Paul all the best on his retirement. Paul and all the team in the North West have achieved great things for tourism in the region and have firmly established the Fáilte Ireland identity throughout Donegal, Sligo and Leitrim. Martina will bring the right mix of skill and experience to continue this work and, ably assisted by the great team up there, build on the work of the last few years to ensure that tourism in the North West can achieve its full potential.”
She added that the tourism market in Great Britain would be one that would be focused heavily on and that the Scottish tourist was exceptionally important to the Donegal market.
Highlighting the challenges for the year ahead, Ms. Bromley said: “There is no doubt that our biggest challenge for the region is the overseas visitor numbers – the figures across the Western Seaboard have been in decline year on year from the overseas markets and particularly into Donegal over the past three years. We will be working very closely with our colleagues in Tourism Ireland to ensure that Donegal gets valuable exposure and marketing promotion in terms of familiarisation trips, incoming tour operator workshops and media exposure.”
She added that in order to win business a number of initiatives will be undertaken for 2012. “To win business we have a number of initiatives underway in 2012, that will drive overseas visitors, linked into Donegal and Derry airports and the new access routes into Ireland West Airport Knock and through Sales Connect which is all about getting destinations out into the key four markets GB, Germany, France and the US to do business to business with incoming Tour Operators and Online Operators.”
Ms Bromley also pinpointed the upcoming Gathering 2013 initiative and discussed the work that is underway on the Wild Atlantic Trail. “We will be actively engaged in 2012 in laying down the ground work in attracting the many diaspora home from the key markets and ensure that Donegal is linked in strongly with The Gathering Initiative in 2013 in calling our people home to Donegal.”
Donegal will feature strongly on the Wild Atlantic Trail as this initiative will see a dedicated visitor route along the West coast and the ground work will be done in 2012 continuing with signage and interpretation of all the main stops along the coastal route. “This is one of the most exciting tourism developments and it will have appeal to an international market as well as the domestic market. There is no doubt our stunning coastal scenery and landscape will play an important part in the overall success of this driving route,” she said.
Ms. Bromley added that there will be continued support for the tourism businesses through a series of tactical business supports and interventions that will assist in the growing their bottom line in conjunction with up skilling and selling and bundling with other local providers to sustain and grow business.
“As always we will continue to work closely through our Regional Tourism Forum under the chair of Bernie Butler and with the local authority and all the agencies to ensure that the strong collaboration and good working partnerships continues into the future and that our focus collectively will grow this important industry and employer for Donegal,” she said.