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Six-year blueprint for city tourism

Denise McNamara

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A six-year blueprint for tourism has recommended a master brand be created for the whole of Galway to help it capitalise on its status as the only city on the entire Wild Atlantic Way.

The Tourism Sustainability Strategy 2015-2021 has outlined the need to help the sector develop new products to enhance the tourist experience and extend the tourist season.

It also has recommended there be “continuous innovation” for festival formats, themes and focus to further develop Galway’s reputation as the capital of festivals.

The Tourism Sustainability Strategy relies heavily on a study carried out by the Whitaker Institute in NUIG commissioned by Galway City and County Councils into the industry.

The study highlighted some key facts about the region. One sixth of domestic trips were to the West of Ireland with an average length of stay by Irish residents of 3.3 nights, which is the second longest after the south west; an average of €317 is generated per visitor to the West, the third highest revenue in the State.

Galway accounted for nearly 16% of total overseas visitors to Ireland last year, with Galway’s inbound overseas visitors increasing at a higher rate than nationally between 2013 and 2014.

The research found that €148 million was generated in Galway from domestic tourists in 2013. The revenue from overseas visitors was €253 million in 2012.

The specific actions contained in the plan include establishing a destination management organisation for Galway city and county, similar to the one set up in the Titanic Quarter in Belfast, which is now the second most visited tourist attraction on the island. Another is to create a Wild Atlantic Way Action plan, given that Galway City is the only city location on the Wild Atlantic Way, as well as being a key mid-point on the route.

“This gives Galway City the competitive advantage to become the key hub of the WAW for transport, accommodation and other resources.”

Among the priorities set out in the plan is the creation of cultural trails using the region’s cultural assets, such as heritage sites. The trails could be combined with the food, creative and agricultural sectors to create unique and authentic experiences for domestic and overseas tourists.

“Marketing and branding of Galway in a systematic way through traditional and new media is essential to supporting the sector in national and international markets. This could be done through a master brand for Galway,” the plan states.

The strategy underlines the need to refine the Galway tourist experience with changes to the profile of tourists, their demands, preferences and lengths of stay.

The Galway tourist profile has been broken down to three groups. Culturally Curious are typically 55 years old, taking a holiday with their partner and out to broaden their minds by exploring new landscapes, history and culture; Great Escapers tend to be around 30, often couples, some with young children, interested in rural holidays who want a break to reconnect with their partner and nature; Social Energisers are young couples and adult groups looking for excitement, new experiences, and a fun, social holiday somewhere different.

The strategy was adopted by councillors at a meeting of Galway City Council.

CITY TRIBUNE

Council to consider new pedestrian ‘plaza’ for Galway City

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Councillors will be asked next month to consider a sweeping overhaul of traffic flow in the city centre as the local authority seeks to create a more pedestrian-friendly core in the wake of Covid-19.

Currently under proposal in City Hall are major alterations to traffic flow which will allow for restricted car access to Middle Street – creating additional outdoor seating space for businesses in the area struggling to cope amid social distancing requirements.

Senior Engineer at City Hall, Uinsinn Finn, said they are currently considering three different proposals to alter traffic flow on Merchants Road, Augustine Street and Flood Street to reduce the need for car access to Middle Street, while still maintaining access for residents.

“We already pedestrianised Cross Street and we will be maintaining that, and there will be a proposal for Middle Street and Augustine Street.

“Businesses in the area are very much in favour of pedestrianisation – one business has objections but the others are supportive. Another consideration is that there are residents there with parking spaces and we are trying to encourage people to live in the city centre,” said Mr Finn.

The Latin Quarter business group submitted proposals for the temporary pedestrianisation of Middle Street and Abbeygate Street Lower but Mr Finn said the proposals the Council were considering were more in the line of creating adequate space for pedestrians while still allowing residents vehicular access.

This would involve creating a circuit for car traffic moving through Merchants Road around onto Augustine Street and exiting at Flood Street.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the full details, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Residents want laneway closed following pipe bomb scare

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Residents in part of Knocknacarra are calling for the closure of a laneway and for more Community Gardaí to be put on the beat following the discovery of a ‘viable’ pipe-bomb type device in the area last weekend.

Up to 13 homes in the Cimín Mór and Manor Court estates had to be evacuated on Friday evening last when the incendiary device was discovered by Gardaí concealed in an unlit laneway, leading to the emergency services being notified.

An Army EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) unit was called to the scene and removed the device – according to local residents and councillors, the Gardaí have confirmed that the device was viable.

Gardaí have declined to comment on the detail of the case but have confirmed that the matter is being ‘actively and vigorously investigated’.

Chairman of the Cimín Mór Residents’ Association, Pat McCarthy, told the Galway City Tribune that the discovery of the viable device on the narrow laneway that links their estate to Manor Court was extremely frightening for all concerned.

“For the best part of the past 20 years, we have been seeking action to be taken on this laneway which has been used for dumping and unsociable behaviour on a repeated basis.

“But what happened last Friday evening was really the last straw for us. This could have resulted in serious injury to innocent people and what is also of concern to us is how close this was to the two schools in the area,” said Mr McCarthy.

He said that over the coming days, the residents’ association would be petitioning all residents in the three estates concerned – the other two being Manor Court and Garraí Dhónaill – for action to be taken on the laneway.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the full details, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway designer’s necklace is fit for a princess!

Denise McNamara

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Kate Middleton wearing the necklace designed by Aisling O'Brien

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A Galway jewellery designer is the latest to experience the ‘Kate effect’ after fans tracked down the woman who created a necklace for the Duchess of Cambridge which she has worn several times since it was gifted to her during her trip to the city last March.

Aisling O’Brien’s website crashed on Wednesday night when orders poured in for the piece from around the world. The necklace costs €109 with initials, while the earrings retail for €49.

“I’d never sold more than two things outside of Ireland before. I only had three of Kate’s necklaces in stock – and now I have orders for at least 50. I’ll have to start recruiting some elves,” laughs Aisling, who only set up her website during lockdown.

The 14-carat gold necklace and earrings set was designed by Aisling specially for Kate after examining her style – “understated, elegant, simplicity” is how the Tuam native describes it.

She was contacted about the commission by physiotherapist Thérèse Tully, who wanted to give the future queen a gift as she was using her room to change at Árus Bóthar na Trá beside Pearse Stadium when the royal couple were meeting with GAA teams.

(Photo: Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton wearing the necklace)
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the full details, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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