Failte Ireland’s CEO, Shaun Quinn, says he’s hopeful that Donegal can become the county of choice for certain British holidaymakers in Ireland.
A native of Donegal, Shaun Quinn attended a North West Region Tourism Industry Briefing last Thursday night in Bundoran.
He spoke to the Donegal Democrat/People’s Press about the county’s tourism prospects for the coming year.
“The challenge for tourism in Donegal is that we are very dependent on domestic tourism, people from Dublin and Leinster coming up and people from Northern Ireland coming down. These markets were very strong for some time but they are going soft at the moment. We need to broaden out the base.
“We are looking at particular segments of the British market that are growing and which would be attracted to what Donegal has to offer them.
“One segment, the ‘Culturally Curious’ are 45 and over, they want to spend a longer time in an area, get to really know it and the people, and learn something. The other, ‘the Great Escapers’, are younger, and really into activities, nature and scenery.
“There’s also great potential to develop the market in Continental Europe, especially Germany and France, and in North America.
“The segments we’re targeting tend to be independent travellers, the type of people who make all their own arrangements on the web rather than go on package tours.
“These tourists are especially discerning and those who do come to Donegal rate it very highly in our surveys - for the friendliness of the people, value for money and as an authentic experience.”
Mr. Quinn said visitors also go on Facebook and twitter while they’re here to tell their family and friends about their experience. “That’s the key driver of business now,” he said.
“That’s why it’s really important for tourism businesses to strike up a relationship with the guests that they have and ensure they get fantastic service. These people will probably generate more business for them than an ad will do, and it costs a lot less.”