Updated: 23/02/12 : 12:12:23
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‘New Vision’ for Sligo Bed & Breakfast’s

Bed and breakfast owners from across Ireland gathered in Farmleigh, Dublin this week to be honoured for their achievements on Fáilte Ireland’s Skills Development Programme. A new B&B development DVD, ‘New Vision in Action’, which will promote the redevelopment of the B&B brand, was also launched at the event.

Sligo’s Mary Brennan, Eden Villa, Tubbercurry, together with Mary Mulligan, Ave Maria Farmhouse, Aughris and Mary Coggins, Glen View B&B, Glencar were awarded a certificate for their achievements in the development programme at the event.

The programme was put together by Fáilte Ireland, to help B&B owners build on their existing skills in order to deliver the unique experience that only an Irish home B&B can offer, and which many overseas visitors are looking for. Through the programme participants received advice, training and support in areas such as cookery, menu development and customer care in order to enhance their offering.

Speaking at the event, Minister Michael Ring T.D. stressed the importance of continuing the redevelopment of the sector – "I am delighted to be here today to acknowledge the hard work and commitment that has been shown by B&B properties across the country. It is fitting that we are here today in Farmleigh, the home away from home for Ireland’s visiting dignitaries.

"You cannot get closer to an authentic Irish experience than staying with a welcoming and hospitable Irish family, in their own home. Research shows that when visitors are looking to experience real Irish hospitality, B&B’s play an important part in helping our visitors discover the undiscovered."

The DVD tells the unique story of the Irish B&B through the eyes of the operators and also features interviews with guests including Irish TV personality Catherine Fulvio. It is intended as an additional aid to B&B owners to help them up their game with an assortment of tips and guidance towards best practice.

Fáilte Ireland has been working closely with the B&B sector over the last few years to develop a unified brand for all approved B&Bs – ‘An Irish Home B&B …Get Closer’ as well as introducing a classification and categorisation system to ensure potential customers can make an informed choice based on quality assurance. B&Bs can now opt for a general rating or aim for a star classification (with over 900 now operating at the three star level). Some B&Bs are also opting for specialised classifications such as "Angler-friendly" or "Walkers welcome".

Speaking about the B&B experience, Tony Lenehan, Fáilte Ireland’s Head of Industry Services said - "A stay in a B&B is intrinsically Irish. As a tourism authority, we must ensure that customers are fully informed and can make the smart choice as they search for quality B&B accommodation available throughout Ireland.

Visitors today are looking for that something extra and we believe B&Bs are well placed at the heart of their local communities to offer that added value whether in providing the ‘insider knowledge’ on the best local walks, booking an evening meal in a local restaurant or providing a packed lunch for a day out. If the friendliness of the Irish is the calling card of our tourism industry, then the B&B sector is holding the ace and needs to play it as it markets itself in the future."

Photo: Pictured at the launch of Fáilte Irelalnd's ‘New Vision in Action’ B&B development DVD at Farmleigh, were (l. to r.): Mary Brennan, Eden Villa, Tubbercurry; Tracey Coughlan, Fáilte Ireland; Michael Ring, T.D., Minister of State for Tourism and Sport; Mary Mulligan, Ave Maria Farmhouse, Aughris and Mary Coggins, Glen View B&B, Glencar. Photo: Derek Cullen, Fáilte Ireland