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Dr Tony Linehan Paper Dr Tony Linehan Paper Document Transcript

  • TOWARDS 2031A Tourism / Recreation Perspective for Ballyhoura Country 1
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  • ContentsIntroduction ........................................................................................................................................ 5Tourism Performance in 2009 ..................................................................................................... 5Activity Product Usage among Overseas Visitors in 2009 ................................................ 5Demographic Developments ........................................................................................................ 7 Demographic Developments – Internationally ............................................................................... 9 Overall Demand ............................................................................................................................ 10Key Destination Issues in 2009 ................................................................................................ 15 Destination Determinants and their Importance in Choosing Ireland ............... 16 The Importance of the Environment ............................................................................... 18Products & Services ....................................................................................................................... 18 Paid Serviced Accommodation .......................................................................................... 18 Self-catering Accommodation ........................................................................................... 18 Food Services ........................................................................................................................... 19 Internal Transport .................................................................................................................. 19 Historical & Cultural Attractions ....................................................................................... 19 Activities .................................................................................................................................... 20Delivering a Quality Rural Tourism Experience .................................................................. 20The Irish Rural Tourism Product: Destination Branding ................................................. 22 Branding Irish Rural Tourism: Destination and Product ......................................... 23Tourism Products ............................................................................................................................ 23 Food Tourism ........................................................................................................................... 23 Education ................................................................................................................................... 25 Outdoor Activities ................................................................................................................... 28 Culture and Heritage ............................................................................................................. 30Key Questions Answered ............................................................................................................. 31Bibliography...................................................................................................................................... 37 3
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  • IntroductionThis paper considers demographic and market trends in relation to tourism in generaland rural tourism in particular. It then goes on to identify possible directions for thefuture in rural tourism and give best practice examples of tourism products.Tourism Performance in 2009Expenditure by visitors to Ireland (including receipts paid to Irish carriers by foreignvisitors) was estimated to be worth €3.9 billion in 2009, this represents a drop of 19%on 2008 (Failte Ireland, Tourism Facts 2009)Overseas tourist visits to Ireland in 2009 fell by 12% to 6.6 million. Tourist numbersfrom Britain declined by 15%, Mainland Europe fell by 9%, and North America decreasedby 6%, due to the global economic downturn and unfavourable exchange rates with theeuro.The fall of 12% in tourist arrivals to Ireland compares to a drop of 4% in world arrivalsas reported by the World Tourism Organisation. International tourist arrivals in Europe in2009 showed a drop of 6% when compared to 2008 and Northern Europe, whichincludes Ireland, declined by 8%.Activity Product Usage among Overseas Visitors in 2009Hiking/Cross-Country WalkingOver 800,000 overseas visitors claim to have gone hiking/cross-country walking in 2009.However, the number who walked off-road, for more than 5km on average, is 388,000and they spent an estimated €183 million. Holidaymakers who stated that walking wasan important factor in their choice of Ireland as a holiday destination number 366,000and they spent an estimated €215 million while in Ireland in 2009 (Fáilte Ireland,Activity Product Usage Among Overseas Visitors 2009)CyclingAn estimated 114,000 overseas visitors engaged in cycling while in Ireland in 2009, andaccounted for €97 million of overseas visitor spend. 5
  • Summary of Overseas Visitors Engaging in Activities in 2009Activity Important in Choice of Ireland Overseas Spend in Ireland Overseas Spend in Ireland Participants (€mn) Holidaymakers (€mn) (000s) (000s)Hiking/Cross 830 494 366 215Country WalkingGolf 143 110 74 59Angling 132 105 60 43Cycling 114 97 42 29Equestrian 46 27 16 11Cultural Activity Product Usage among Overseas Visitors in 2009In 2009 an estimated 3.3 million overseas visitors engaged in cultural activities while inIreland, including visits to places of historical/cultural interest and gardens, attendingfestival/events and tracing roots/genealogy. Visitors who engaged in these activitiesspent an estimated €1.9 billion in 2009 (Fáilte Ireland, Cultural Activity Product UsageAmong Overseas Visitors 2009)Cultural/Historical VisitsAn estimated 3,045,000 overseas visitors engaged in cultural/historical visits while inIreland in 2009. Mainland Europe is a key market for this product, accounting for 45% ofthose visiting cultural/historical attractions. Historical/cultural visits comprise thefollowing: Houses/ Monuments Museums/ Heritage/ Gardens Genealogy Spas Festivals / Castles Art Interpretive Events Galleries CentresOverseas 2½ 2.1 million 1.7 million 1 ½ million 1.3 122,000 118,000 376,000visitors million million (Britain – (over halfto Ireland most of these –in 2009 important British) market for this activity) 6
  • Demographic DevelopmentsDemographic developments have always had a significant impact of the scale, patternand shape of tourism demand. The structure of societies are continuously changing andfor both public and private organization working in tourism, it is essential to know whatchanges are coming in order anticipate and react to them in the most competitive way(Fáilte Ireland, Towards 2020: Future Tourism Demand Insights)Demographic Change in IrelandThe domestic market has become an increasingly important source of business for theIrish tourism industry and now accounts for just over 25% of total tourism revenues.Within the domestic market the most notable trend over the last decade has been thesignificant increase in usage of hotels and a shift away from guesthouses andB&Bs. The domestic market now accounts for approximately two-thirds of all hotel bednights sold annually. Another big trend was the dramatic increase in the numberof trips taken by people aged 50 years and older. Their share of the market nowstands at 42% whereas they account for 26% of the population. Other notable trendsinclude increased trip frequency but with falling lengths of stay; greater participation inactivities while on holidays; and strong growth in the average spend per trip. Thissection looks at how these trends are likely to evolve over the next ten years.Population GrowthFigure 1 show that the national population is going to grow strongly over the comingyears. By 2021 the population is expected to be 5.4 million, up 20% from today’spopulation of 4.4 million. CSO projections suggest that by 2026 the population will be5.7 million driven upwards by relatively high fertility rates combined with inwardmigration. 7
  • Figure 1: Population Projection up to 2026 (000’s)With such a big rise in the Irish population there will be a corresponding increase intourism demand However, the nation’s age profile set to change significantly and with itthe pattern of demand.Age DistributionOf all the demographic factors, age is the one most often cited by commentators ashaving a determining influence on travel preferences and our population is getting older,albeit at a slower rate than the rest of the developing world.Population projections show that each of the major age cohorts will change in differentways over the coming decade and beyond. These changes are summarised as follows: The 0-14 years cohort will increase from the over the medium, by 2021 there will be 1.1 million in this age group, a growth on 17%. The 15-24 years cohort will actually dip during the next decade before returning to its former size of some 0.6 million. The 25-44 years cohort will increase from 1.5 million today towards 1.7 million over the next 10 years before declining back to 1.5 million. By 2021 it will 6% above today’s size. The 45-64 years cohort will grow strongly from the present number of 1.0 million to 8
  • reach a projected 1.3 million in 2021 and in will continue to grow in size over the longer term. The 65+ cohort will exhibit the highest level of growth, rising from 0.5 million to 0.9million in 2021, an increase of 44%. This cohort also continue to grow in size over the longer term.In terms of age dependency ratios, we are moving from a situation today where thereare three people of working age to every pensioner to a ratio of 2:1. The furtherforwards the ratio is calculated the worst it gets.Demographic Developments – InternationallyPopulation GrowthThe world’s population is set to rise from 6.9 billion now to 7.8 billion in 2020 (up 11%)and reach 8.3 billion by 2020 (+20%). While the world population will grow by 0.9 billionpeople over the next 10 years, Europe’s population is expected to remain static as allother regions increase their population base. Figure 2: World Population 1990-2020 (000’s) 9,000,000 8,000,000 7,000,000 6,000,000 5,000,000 4,000,000 3,000,000 2,000,000 1,000,000 - 1990 2000 2010 2020 Africa Asia Europe Latin America Northern America Oceania 9
  • This global population increase should boost tourist numbers significantly. And aseconomies get richer then more people can afford to travel. The predicted increases inwealth in future years will allow ever more people to engage in overseas travel.In terms of regional location, the relative decline in importance of the West in populationterms is well flagged. Europe’s proportion of the world’s population is set to declinesignificantly from 1990-2020 from 14% to circa 9%. North America and Latin Americashares of the world’s growing population will remain unchanged. Asia on the other handdisplays a continually high proportion of the global populace; the continent makes uparound 60% of the world’s population mainly due to the size of India and China each ofwhich amount to around 20% each.Age DistributionThe second major aspect is the changing age structure of the world’s population andspecifically ageing. Population ageing on the scale now observed is unprecedented. Atthe world level, the number of older people is expected to exceed the number of childrenfor the first time in 2045. In the more developed regions, where population ageing is farmore advanced, the number of children dropped below that of older people in 1998.Overall DemandInternationally – More Demand for TourismThe global population growth will boost tourist numbers significantly. And as economiesget richer then more people can afford to travel. The wealth increases in future years willallow ever more people to engage in overseas travel. In 2000 there were 11.5international trips per 100 people, so even with no changes other than population growththis rate of travel implies an increase in international travel of 11% to 2020. However,the UNWTO forecasts a near doubling of the rate of international travel to 22 trips per100 people by 2020. This, combined with an 11% increase in population, suggests adoubling of international travel in the medium-term, with more people travelling morefrequently.Nationally – More Demand for Tourism 10
  • With such a big rise in the Irish population there will be a corresponding increase intourism demand of some 20% even without allowing for other positive drivers. However,the nation’s age profile is set to change significantly and with it the pattern of demand.Age DistributionInternationally – The Rich World Ageing FastestConcentrating on the 65+ age segment: Strong growth in demand will continue from this market over the coming 20 years, but may weaken after that as the disposable wealth of retired persons will fall both because the value of pensions is likely to diminish and health costs will accelerate. The seniors market will be heterogeneous in composition, with a range of segments to be addressed by the tourism industry. The market is likely to split along (a) disposable income lines and (b) age and independent lines. At opposite ends of the disposable income range there will be a materialistic, cash-rich segment and a budget conscious segment. The latter group will continue to have an interest in travel and will comprise a growing volume of demand but price will be a primary influence on choice. Regarding age and independent, the 60+ group may further subdivide between the 60-74 year olds and those aged 75+, as the latter group will comprise a rapidly increasing number of people who will still want to take holidays but who will need greater levels of support services, care and appropriate product design to meet their needs. Domestic tourism is likely to be a beneficiary of the growing older market. Safety and security are important considerations for older people and the rigors of long-haul travel will become increasingly unappealing as people age. Meeting minimum environmental standards will be a base level expectation, and concern for the environment will not necessarily translate into a willingness to pay a premium for ‘green’ products. Tourism products and destinations will have to be tailored to the needs and desires of older people, but without appearing ‘old’. Older tourists do not want to be corralled 11
  • into destinations for the elderly. They will be fitter and more active than heretofore, engaging in a wide range of pursuits on vacation. We are also going to see a growth in intergenerational travel parties as ‘vertical’ families seek destinations offering a selection of products suited to their mixed interests. Products will need to cater more dynamically for older tourists, recognising the impact of ageing but using good design rather than an explicitly older person emphasis. They will have to allow for the physical impact of ageing, e.g. impaired visual acuity, restricted visual range, reduced colour perception, acoustic considerations, reduced mobility and dexterity, etc.Nationally – Ageing, But SlowlyIreland’s population is still relatively youthful in comparison with most other EUcountries. In 2006, 11% of Ireland’s population was aged 65 years or more comparedwith an EU average of 17%. The 50+ years age group is going to increased dramatically– very good news for Irish tourism given that this age group exhibits a much higherpropensity to travel. However, the products offered and the marketing messages willneed to adjust particularly as the growth will be greatest in the group aged 65 years andolder.Older people are likely to adhere to travel behaviours established by, or in, middle age.For example, lower seasonality, more car journeys, more short breaks, greater use ofhotels, more cultural tours and journeys with a focus on health and nature.The under-15 years cohort is also going to grow strongly, particularly up to the earlyparts of the next decade – there will be continuing demand for family holidays andopportunities for those servicing the teenage market.Other likely implications of a changing age distribution are as follows: Seasonality: With an increase in older age groups it is reasonable to expect an improved seasonal spread of demand; however the summer peak is going to remain 12
  • due to the role played by family holidays and the ‘mini-bubble’ in this segment. Accommodation: The trend in favour of hotel accommodation will continue as older tourist lock into past habits. The growth in younger age groups suggests persistent demand for family-oriented accommodation, especially self-catering. Accommodation providers will need to adjust their offering to suit older tourists but also look at adding products and services to suit the growing family segment. Attractions: Older age groups will continue to visit national parks, historic sites, heritage sites and gardens and in growing numbers. Cultural attractions will gain significantly from the ageing of the Irish nation. Activities: Older Irish people are becoming more active. The most popular activities currently, in order of importance, are walking, swimming, golf, keep-fit, dancing and cycling. Demand for ‘standard’ activities will grow faster in the longer term, in all probability, than demand for more extreme sports. In the short-term, however, extreme sports can benefit from a growing teenage and young adult market.Climate Change – and the impact on Ireland’s image as a DestinationWarming of the climate system is now unequivocal and that human activities are verylikely to be the cause of recent warming. However, it is not only the challenges of risingtemperatures that face us, but also related changes such as extreme weather events,changes to current rainfall patterns leading to increased flooding and more prolongeddroughts, as well as rising sea levels due to melting ice caps and glaciers and thermalexpansion of the oceans.Implications of Climate Change on Tourism- A European Perspective 13
  • At a general level, simulated models demonstrate how tourism numbers and patternscould respond to climate change. The analysis suggests that north-west Europe couldacquire a new competitive advantage for tourism as Mediterranean destinationsbecome too hot for comfort during the summer. Traditionally, ‘sun, sea and sand’has been a primary motivation for holidays in Southern Europe, but as the climate‘improves’ in north-west Europe, more of these tourists are likely to holiday at home orcloser to home.In addition, as the century progresses and climate change becomes more established,these stay-at-home tourists are likely to be joined by growing tourist arrivals fromsouthern Europe. These changing flows could have profound implications for northernEurope (Arkel, 2007), given that an estimated 100 million tourists visit theMediterranean each year, spending some €100 billion.However, as well as the direct impact of climate change on Ireland’s environment,potential increase in numbers holidaying at home in Ireland and overseas visitors fromsouthern Europe will bring their own issues in terms of demand for waste waterinfrastructure, water supply and power (and subsequent implications for carbonemissions). This could result in pressure on the environment, and in particularwater quality due to potential increases in waste discharges combined withreduced rainfall during the summer months and higher temperatures.It is therefore vital that the tourism product is of high quality and that sustainabletourism management policies are employed to address potential climate change impacts.Careful management of climate-exacerbated pressures such as water pollution will beessential in order to safeguard positive destination image in the long term. 14
  • Key Destination Issues in 2009Among the factors that are considered to set Ireland apart from other destinationsoffering a similar experience, the beauty of the scenery and friendliness and hospitalityof the Irish people dominate holidaymakers’ perceptions (Fáilte Ireland, Visitor AttitudesSurvey 2009). Over the years, these always have been the principal distinguishingfactors spontaneously associated with Ireland and 2009 is no different. At an overalllevel and across the main markets - Britain, North America, France and Germany - theIrish people are ranked as the top positive discriminator compared to other holidaydestinations, ahead of scenic attractions. Indeed, British and North Americanholidaymakers give particular prominence to the Irish people relative to scenicattractions, undoubtedly reflecting a shared and strong ethnic and cultural identity whichin turn leads to a particular affinity for the Irish people. Among French and Germanholidaymakers, the choice between the top two attractions is more equitable, with theIrish people just slightly ahead of scenery in both markets.Other distinguishing advantages spontaneously identified are our cultural and historicalheritage, particularly significant for North American visitors who also, along with Britishvisitors, appreciate the fact that we are English speaking. Unsurprisingly, ease of accessfeatures as a particular advantage for British holidaymakers. An unspoilt environment is 15
  • noted as a positive feature of Ireland by German visitors (13%) and Irish pub cultureremains on the radar particularly for the French, one in ten of whom single this out as apositive discriminator for Ireland.Destination Determinants and their Importance in Choosing IrelandReiterating the themes of friendliness and scenic attraction already noted, these areselected as the most important aspects from a wide range of factors that might influencethe choice of a holiday destination. An unspoilt environment, safety and security, therange of natural attractions, and things to do and see also feature strongly and arementioned by at least eight in every ten holidaymakers. Interesting history and culture(78%), good all round value for money (75%), attractive cities and towns (74%) and theanticipation of a new destination to discover (73%) also rate highly. These generallycomprise the fundamental influences in choosing Ireland, but there are some marketdivergences reflecting both the mindset and the practical requirements of particularnationalities. For example, history and culture features strongly for North Americans.Value for money and competitive air and sea fares are high up the agenda for Britishholidaymakers, while the range of natural attractions and the prospect of an unspoiltenvironment resonate with Mainland European visitors, particularly those from Franceand Germany. 16
  • The principal factors of friendly people and scenery have remained very consistent fromyear to year in terms of their importance, but there appears to be a slight fall-off in theimportance of factors such as a natural, unspoilt environment (down six percentagepoints since 2005) and an easy and relaxed pace of life (down eleven percentage pointssince 2005). It is likely that a trend towards more urban based trips and shorter stayshas contributed to the gradual diminishment in the importance of these two factors. In2009, for example, one in five holidaymakers (20%) described their holiday in Ireland asa city break, up from 14% in 2005, with Dublin the primary focus of such trips. Theproportion describing their holiday as predominantly countryside has declined from 41%to 33% over the same period. From a market perspective, the incidence of city breaks in2009 was highest among British holidaymakers (27%). Just over one in five MainlandEuropeans (21%) described their visit as a city break, highest among Italian (35%)Scandinavian (37%) and Spanish (30%), but much less likely to feature among German(13%) and French (11%) holidaymakers.Notwithstanding any changes in the nature of holidaymakers to Ireland, the support andreinforcement of important destination features such as friendly, hospitable people,beautiful scenery, an unspoilt environment and a relaxed pace of life will remainimperative in discriminating Ireland from other similar destinations. 17
  • The Importance of the EnvironmentWith the constantly growing emphasis worldwide on environmental issues and a greenagenda, and with the sustainability of Irish tourism dependent on the extent to whichour environment actually matches the image propagated, it is encouraging to see thatIreland continues to perform quite well in the opinion of our visitors as a clean andenvironmentally green destination. In 2009, approaching one in two (47%) agreedstrongly with this proposition and net agreement (agree strongly/slightly) stands at82%, very much in line with the outcome in previous surveys. Outright disagreementwith this proposition has remained low each year, with 7% adopting a negative stance in2009.Products & ServicesHolidaymakers were asked to rate their satisfaction with the quality, customer serviceand price of the various products and services they had used during their holiday. A newfive point rating scale ranging from ‘very satisfied’ to ‘very dissatisfied’ was introduced in2009 in order to allow a more judicious assessment on the part of visitors. As a result,comparisons with previous years are not feasible.Paid Serviced AccommodationTop grade hotels and Irish Homes/Guesthouses achieve very high satisfaction ratings onquality and customer service, with nine in every ten users either very satisfied orsatisfied. Somewhat lower satisfaction ratings are recorded for medium/other gradehotels suggesting that though the majority are satisfied standards may not always reachcustomer expectations. For each category of accommodation in the paid serviced sectorsatisfaction with price is also generally positive, although lagging behind perceptions ofquality and customer service. While this may be more a factor of the overall cost ofliving in Ireland, a perceived mismatch between the quality and service offered and theprice charged cannot be ruled out as a reason for higher levels of outright dissatisfaction,ranging from 12% to 14% in the paid serviced sector.Self-catering AccommodationRented self-catering accommodation earned high net satisfaction ratings on both quality(85%) and customer service (84%), with a slightly lower net satisfaction on price(75%). Around three in every four hostel users were satisfied with quality and customerservice and two in every three with the price they paid. Net satisfaction with quality inthe caravan and camping sector (66%) was somewhat lower although customer 18
  • satisfaction was well rated (77%). Price, however, was clearly an issue, with just 43%satisfied and one in five dissatisfied.Food ServicesHistorically, price has tended to be an issue across the range of food outlets and thistrend continues in 2009 with net satisfaction levels with price for almost all categories offood outlets hovering around 50%. The one exception is the Irish Homes/Guesthousesector, where satisfaction with price reaches 63%. Net dissatisfaction is highest forbudget restaurants (26%) followed by high quality restaurants (23%). Across the rangeof food service outlets net satisfaction with quality predictably peaks for high qualityrestaurants (88%) and is lowest in the budget restaurant sector (69%). Customerservice follows a similar trend, albeit with slightly higher net satisfaction scores across alloutlets than is the case for quality. Measured for the third time in 2009, 43% ofconsumers are now dissatisfied with the price of alcohol, a more negative outcome thanpreviously noted.Internal TransportDespite some spontaneously expressed reservations concerning internal transportfacilities, and a notable level of disagreement regarding the ease of travelling around thecountry/good transport infrastructure, net satisfaction with intercity bus and rail servicesis high, exceeding 80% for both on quality and approaching 80% on customer service.Two in every three are also satisfied with price for these services, though netdissatisfaction with price on inter city rail (16%) is higher than for intercity bus services(11%). Among the other internal transport options, overnight coach tours received thehighest level of approbation on all three measures – quality (94%), customer service(94%) and price (81%), replicating the high levels of satisfaction noted in previousyears. Across the range of options, net satisfaction with price is lowest for car hire(50%) and taxis (55%). Though quality and customer service are more favourablyregarded for both, there may be some room for improvement in both of these aspects,but particularly customer service for car hire (67% satisfied and 14% dissatisfied).Historical & Cultural AttractionsCovering historic houses and castles, monuments and historic sites, gardens,heritage/interpretative centres and museums and art galleries, these constitute an 19
  • important feature of the holiday, with over three in every five (62%) visiting any ofthese attractions. Their range and quality is generally very well rated, with netsatisfaction scores in excess of 80% for each on both these attributes. Inevitably, pricetends to be less favourably regarded, with net satisfaction with admission chargesranging between 53% for Historic Houses/castles and 67% for Museums/Art Galleries,the latter perhaps benefiting for the level of free entry, particularly to the moreimportant national institutions.ActivitiesHiking/cross country walking is the premier product, mentioned more or less consistentlyby one in every four over the past five years as an activity they have taken part induring their holiday. This rises to one in every three among Mainland Europeans. Netsatisfaction with the quality and price of this activity is very high. Around nine in tenparticipants give a favourable rating on quality and the vast majority (83%) are ‘verysatisfied’ with price. Reported participation in other activities, such as golf and cycling, isquite low (5% for each). While satisfaction with the quality of golf (97%) is virtuallyunanimous price is obviously an issue, with a more modest three in every five (59%)satisfied and almost one in five (18%) dissatisfied – a potentially negative issue inexpanding participation, particularly where holidaymakers may be more conscious ofoverall costs and value in the current economic climate. Among the small minority (3%)participating in equestrian activities, satisfaction with quality (89%) is assured butremains more tenuous regarding price (61%).Delivering a Quality Rural Tourism ExperienceThis section identifies some of the priorities and actions that a rural destination shouldbear in mind when developing their management approach, as identified in the EUpaper: Towards Quality Rural Tourism: Integrated Quality Management.Marketing and Communications Understanding the market Communicating an accurate quality image and identity Providing reservation services Providing services to groups and the travel trade Maintaining contact with visitors Monitoring the effectiveness of marketing 20
  • Using larger quality networksWelcome, Orientation and Information Ensuring a welcome and orientation by hosts Encouraging responsible behavior among visitors Providing effective print, well distributed Improving the impact of information centres Keeping abreast of IT opportunitiesAccommodation Keeping a check on new development Identifying and providing different quality standards Pursuing quality needs and opportunities in different accommodation typesLocal Produce and Gastronomy Increasing the quality of local produce Increasing opportunities for visitors to purchase local produce Encouraging restaurant to reflect the traditional gastronomyAttractions and Events Providing sufficient attractions to retain visitor interest Providing the right level of access and quality of interpretation Combining small attractions and events, for quality and impactCountryside Recreation Ensuring good safety and environmental standards Matching recreation provision to market needs Creating quality recreational trails Improving quality through linkages and packages Improving existing leisure facilities for visitors and localsEnvironment and Infrastructure 21
  • Improving and managing transport to, and within, the area Improving the quality of local services for visitors Introducing comprehensive management schemes Having appropriate land use planning policies Working with parks and protected areas Stimulating action within local communities Involving and influencing visitors Promoting sustainability amongst tourism enterprisesThe Irish Rural Tourism Product: Destination BrandingDestination images are critical in motivating a tourist. The images of a destinationbranch are those perceptions about the place as reflected by the ‘associations held in thetourist memory’. Building a brand image amounts to identifying the most relevantassociations and strengthening their linkages to the brand. Destination branding is arecursive process that revolves around brand element mix, brand identity and brandimage building.Image formation is not branding but a core process in branding. For image building toreach the level of branding there must be a central characteristic – that of brandidentity.Brand identity involves creating a unique set of brand associations. Selecting brandelements to represent the brand identity is of critical importance. The identity must be‘cohesive’; this means the brand elements must be consistent. Consistent brandelements reinforce each other and serve to unify the entire process of image formationand building, which in turn contributes to hte strength and uniqueness of the brandidentity. A brand element may be a word, sign, logo, slogan, etc.Destination branding begins with carefully selecting one or more band elements thatserve as ‘trademarkable’ devices. These elements must reflect the ‘three A’s’ of animage, namely: Attributes (those tangible features that characterize a destination) Affective elements (which reflect the benefits values, or meanings attached to the attributes of a destination) 22
  • Attitudes / Actions (the overall attitudes and actions which should lead a target audience to visit the destination)Branding Irish Rural Tourism: Destination and ProductOn the basis of what research data tells us, together with the principles of destinationbranding, the Irish rural tourism brand should be a mix of destination characteristics andproduct in the sense of activities / pursuits / attractions.The immediate problem that arises is that the kind of images that might be consideredfor rural tourism have, in one way or another, been already used in national promotionand marketing. Ireland is ‘sold’ mainly as a rural destination. Indeed, so are some othercountries, e.g. Scotland, Wales.Tourism ProductsThis section gives an overview of tourism products that are emerging as important for Irish tourism.It also gives some best practice examples both nationally and internationally.Food TourismFood tourism is a growing market segment internationally. In Ireland, touristexpenditure on food and drink in 2009 was close to €2 billion, representing the largestsingle component of individual visitor expenditure and exceeding the average spend on‘bed and board’ (Fáilte Ireland, National Food Tourism Framework 2010)Most tourist destinations are now paying close attention to food tourism as a means ofincreasing visitor numbers and revenue, with the result that the development andpromotion of food tourism plays an ever increasing role in national tourism strategy,particularly in countries such as Scotland and Wales. In line with this, the developmentof local and regional food destinations is also a growing trend globally, whereby food-related activities and events comprise a key feature of attracting increased numbers ofvisitors to particular localities. 23
  • A review of visitor perceptions has highlighted that Ireland has much to be proud of andfeedback from visitors is generally positive with regard to the levels of serviceexperienced in food establishments. On a less positive note, findings also indicate thatprice competitiveness is a concern for some visitors and that there is a need to ensurethat quality is consistently high across all food-related experiences. Despite thesechallenges, given our reputation as a natural, unspoiled location and the positivecorrelation this has with food tourism, the potential to build on success to date issignificant. Fáilte Ireland is confident that potential growth opportunities within foodtourism can be maximised by expanding the number and variety of authentic, highquality experiences in key destinations across the country which provide greaterexposure to proven unique selling points such as our culture and people.The National Food Tourism Implementation Framework - part of Fáilte Ireland’s widercommitment to developing key tourism destinations - is concerned with enhancing theoverall visitor experience across all food-related experiences in order to deliver onmarketing promises and support the effort to position Ireland as a leading food tourismdestination. In addition, the framework has the potential to deliver tangible returns forstakeholders such as better business opportunities for producers, an enhanced consumerexperience and overall growth in food tourism related revenue and employment.A number of fundamental principles were paramount to the development of theframework: Food Destination Development Principles Unique and Consumer Local and Quality and Profitable Distinctive Focused Regional Value and Assured Sustainable Promoting Understanding Providing for a Communicating Supporting locally produced visitor broad and delivering initiatives Irish food which expectations spectrum of upon quality which help to is reflective of and placing ‘food and value deliver long our image as a those needs at experiences’ promises term growth natural, unspoilt the heart of all which provide and destination developments access to sustainability local/regional foods 24
  • The implementation framework, designed in line with these principles, is primarilyconcerned with increasing the availability, authenticity, quality and value for money oflocal and regional food-related experiences. These food experiences must respond toconsumer expectations and be reflective of those qualities which research continuouslyshows makes holidaying in Ireland so unique; namely, our culture, people and theunspoiled environment. A strong emphasis is therefore placed on expanding the rangeand scope of value-driven food-related experiences for visitors, particularly in keydestinations, which offer them a real sense of Irish food, people and places.The Vision for Food Tourism in Ireland is that: ‘Ireland will be recognised by domesticand international visitors alike for the availability, quality and value of our local andregional food experiences which engender a unique sense of Irish culture andhospitality’.EducationPrimary and secondary schools are closing in the Ballyhoura region, creating theopportunity of using the buildings for creating a tourism product centred aroundeducation. Second level education is an emerging market. Second level education as aunique selling point for the region (and potentially for Ireland). Product idea: Setting upboarding school for 2nd level.The Gaeltacht Irish College and Adventure Centre is a successful business combiningactivity and culture; it has been operating in Mayo since 1992. They instruct groups inwatersports through the Irish language: www.uisce.ie 25
  • The Donegal Language, Equestrian and Surf Centre in Bundoran offers horse riding, surfing andadventure pursuits to tourists and bundle them with language classes for students coming to Irelandto learn English. They are approved by the Association of Irish Riding Establishments (AIRE), they arealso approved as an equestrian tourism centre and they are approved as a provider of EnglishLanguage Programmes by the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland 26
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  • Outdoor ActivitiesSnowdonia in North Wales has a wide range of outdoor activities, from walking, climbing,cycling, golf, horse riding and fishing to tree top adventures and eco-activities. 28
  • Central Parcs in Europe and the Uk offer a wide range of activities in forest locations 29
  • Culture and HeritageLocal initiative in Kilkenny called Trail Kilkenny, that incorporates several elements,cycling trails, food trails, craft trails: http://www.trailkilkenny.ieOne branch of this initiative is Made In Kilkenny, where a group of local craft workerscame together, got Leader Funding locally and created a craft trail. 30
  • Key Questions AnsweredWhat will the global tourism landscape look like and what are the likelyscenarios leading up to 2031? What are the implications for Ballyhoura Region?Demographic Developments In terms of demographic shifts, the aging population will need greater levels of support services, care & appropriate product design to meet their needs Tourism products and destinations will have to be tailored to the needs and desires of mature people. These tourists will be fitter and more active then heretofore, engaging in a wide range of pursuits on vacation The under-15 cohort will grow strongly, suggesting a persistent demand for family- orientated accommodation, especially self-catering Cultural attractions will gain significantly from the ageing of the Irish nation Demand for ‘standard’ activities will grow faster in the longer term than demand for more extreme sports. In the short-term, however, extreme sports can benefit from a growing teenage and young adult market The balancing between time and money is a critical issue for the tourism industry. The key now is to provide ‘value for time’. This can be done by providing more efficient delivery of services to the traveler and maximization of activities. Improved accessibility and globalization means that Ireland will be able to attract visitors from just about anywhere, but it also means that we are competing against an ever growing set of alternative destinations. In response to the growth of a bland monoculture promoted by globalization people are looking more and more to their own identities and cultural values Across the developed world people are spending more and more on culture, but it is the living, creative and performing culture which is benefiting, rather than museums and heritage centres Brand and brand image will continue to be important to consumers. Credible brands in the future will have to be authentic, trustworthy and sustainable. With so much information readily available, any deviation in delivery from the visitors’ expectations will be punished. Culture and heritage are key components of Ireland’s brand and offer the most scope for differentiation As people tastes move on they are likely to become less interested in manufacture theme park style experiences and more interested in authentic experiences. Driving this trend will be higher educational attainment and greater exposure to globalization The traditional version of luxury was mostly about exclusive, expensive, best quality, 31
  • self-indulgent and conspicuous consumption. Luxury is becoming less about materialism and more about self-enrichment and time. In the developed world the emphasis will shift towards personal, experiential, authentic experiences and self- developmentClimate Change One implication of climate change in Europe is that north-west Europe could acquire a new competitive advantage for tourism as Mediterranean destinations become too hot for comfort during the summer Potential increase in numbers holidaying at home in Ireland and overseas visitors from southern Europe will bring their own issues in terms of demand for waster water infrastructure, water supply and power. This could result in pressure on the environment, and in particular water quality due to potential increases in waste discharges combined with reduced rainfall during the summer months and higher temperaturesInsights into Current and Future Tourism Demand The rise of the conservation movement and the consequent designation and preservation of certain areas has implications for rural areas. In this context we may note a distinction between ‘traditional’ holiday activities in rural areas, and ‘new’ activities. The former were usually passive pursuits, often nostalgia-related and relaxing in character – like walking, fishing, bird-watching. The latter may be characterized as competitive, technical, fast, prestige oriented or ‘fashionable’, such as off-road vehicle driving, paragliding or orienteering. While ‘traditional’ rural pursuits are essentially an escape from urban industrial lifestyles and relate directly to the environment in which they are set, the ‘new’ activities represent the transfer and imposition of urban values and lifestyles on rural areas – to the extent that the specific context of a rural location is much less important, or perhaps almost irrelevant. The interest is primarily in the activity, not its rural location As mature travelers are becoming a significant segment of the market, they are making adjustments to provide themselves with adequate funds for retirement. There is a view, however, that older consumers respond negatively to being portrayed as an identifiable age group (e.g. by references to ‘the grey market’), so niche marketing must be on targeted but non-branded product offerings. There will be a strong focus on ‘the holiday experience’, gaining new experiences, and different experiences, allied to the tourists’ search for opportunities to express 32
  • their individualism and realize their self development. Visible expressions of social status inherent in forms of mass tourism are giving way to more inconspicuous consumption and to a general desire for people to express their identity in more subtle ways than through ‘cross consumerism’. ‘Experience holidaymaking’ will also drive the quest for authenticity, for the original and to experience a variety of ‘real’ cultures before they become homogenized in a global economy. People will want to be differentiated not so much by what they can buy, but by what they can do – or have done – and the life experiences they have had. In practice this will mean that holidaymakers will try a series of once-off venturesome or experimental holidays – moving from one destination to another rather than making repeat visits.Profile of the Future CustomerTourism Ireland’s promotional campaign sees Ireland’s best prospects, within each of themain markets, as the segment described as ‘sightseers and culture seekers’. In Ireland’score holiday markets (GB, USA, Germany and France) there are approximately 66 millionAB/C1 Social Class holidaymakers. Those who describe themselves as ‘pure sightseersand culture seekers’ account for just under 21 million of this target audience. However,another 22 million have a ‘strong interest’ in sightseeing and cultural holidays, bringingthe total of this market category to almost two thirds of all holidaymakers from the coremarket targets.Therefore, we can say that the typical rural tourism customer of the future will: Be in the older age groups Have above average levels of education Hold a managerial / professional occupation Live in an urban environment Be well informed, socially aware and widely travelled Value variety in places to see and visit (including places to eat) Be interested in active pursuits (walking/hiking, cycling, fishing, golf, equestrian, water sports) Be also very interested in passive pursuits (culture, history, museums, archeological, sightseeing) Want to have good quality especially in traditional food and in accommodation 33
  • Consumer Needs in a Holiday ContextConsumer needs can be categorised into different types, the categorisation being referedto as ‘Needs Segmentation’. Six segments of needs are identified as follows:1. Stimulation: (met by challenging, survival activities like mountain climbing, etc)2. Status: (met by exclusive type provision such as high quality accommodation, cuisine or ‘sophisticated’ environments like wine growing regions)3. Control: (met by planned and predictable vacations, well organized services, etc)4. Serenity: (met by holidays that ensure relaxation, integration with local people in an easy-going environment away from touristy places)5. Affiliation: (met by being close to family, friends, making repeat visits, informality, walking about, sightseeing, easy activities)6. Freedom: (met by modern vibrant atmosphere, entertainment, nightlife, resorts, etc)Rural Holiday in IrelandRural holidays in Ireland primarily satisfy the needs in Segment 4, 5 and to some extentthey meet needs under Segment 1 also. Thus the combination in order of importance isSerenity, Affiliation and Stimulation. These meet deep-seated requirements that areunique and specific to the character of a rural holiday experience including: - integration with nature - ‘typical experience’ - meeting people - peaceful natural environment - isolation with friendliness - simple accommodation 34
  • Opportunities for Investors, Businesses, Farmers, Individuals and Communitiesin Ballyhoura RegionA lot of investment went into Ballyhoura. Fáilte Ireland supported the development ofapproximately 30 National Looped walks in Ballyhoura over the last 3 years. ThroughNDP Ballyhoura was supported in the development of the mountain bike park. Theproviders in the area were supported through media & trade farm trips on a regularbasis. Fáilte Ireland also supports the main walking and outdoor festivals each year withmarketing funding.By end of 2011 there will be 140 trailheads equating to 280 quality, off-road Nationallooped walks around the country - Coillte, NPWS, Leader and local volunteers in ruralareas have established these walks with support from Fáilte Ireland. Along with anetwork of 12 long distance routes which are improving all the time with the walksscheme and rural recreation officer support, Ireland has a very good walking network.The aim of walkers welcome is to work with local community groups such as Ballyhourato be pro-active in walking as well as tourism operators to realise the full potential of thearea and make it famous for walking holidays. Ballyhoura is a destination that can offerfacilities and services that cater for the needs of the walking visitor. This includes theprovision of a varied selection of walks, accessible walking information and other walkingopportunities such as festivals and walking clubs who put on regular walks in the area.They can also provide local amenities such as shops, pubs, and cafes providing walkerfriendly services including packed lunches, places to leave wet gear and visitor books.The availability of approved accommodation (Hotels, hostels, B&Bs, camping&caravans)that can cater for walkers needs and support from the investor community are keyrequirements in ensuring the success of this initiative in Ballyhoura.The existing tourism products are well development and supported, and while it’simportant to look to new tourism products to meet the needs of the future, attentionneeds to be paid to services and accommodation where there is a gap. 35
  • Maintain existing developments and maximise their potential. New areas for growth infood tourism and education. Ballyhoura should also consider developing theme parksbased on the ‘Centre Parcs’ concept in the UK and EuropeDevelop products for day visitors from Limerick and Cork while being careful with theproduct mix so that Ballyhoura doesn’t become a destination solely for day trippersBroadband coverage is still very poor in the area. More technology investment needed inBallyhoura 36
  • BibliographyCenter Parcs website: www.centerparcs.co.ukDonegal Language, Equestrian and Surf Centre website:www.donegallanguageschool.comEUROPA – Enterprise, Towards Quality Rural Tourism: Integrated Quality Management, 1999Fáilte Ireland (2010), Activity Product Usage Among Overseas Visitors in 2009Fáilte Ireland (2010), Cultural Activity Product Usage Among Overseas Visitors in 2009Fáilte Ireland (2010), National Food Tourism FrameworkFailte Ireland (2009), Tourism Facts 2009Fáilte Ireland (2010), Towards 2020: Future Tourism Demand InsightsFáilte Ireland (2010), Visitor Attitudes Survey 2009Prince Edward Island website: http://www.tourismpei.com/index.php3The Gaeltacht Irish College and Adventure Centre website: http://uisce.ie/Tourism Ireland website: http://tourismireland.comTrail Kilkenny website: http://www.trailkilkenny.ie 37