County Sligo is set to become a top 10 tourist destination by 2023 with a focus on the unique culture, heritage and natural assets of the county. This was the key message coming from the launch of the County Sligo Tourism Strategy yesterday. The strategy was commissioned by Sligo Tourism Ltd and developed in collaboration with Sligo County Council. It outlines Sligo’s tourism policies, marketing and investment for the next five years.
Its goal is to ensure the growth of the industry in an orderly and sustainable way, delivering world- class visitor experiences for the county.
Speaking at the launch, Ciarán Hayes, chair of Sligo Tourism Ltd stated, “the strategy sets out a clear pathway for tourism development in County Sligo, with 548,000 visitors per year coming to County Sligo by 2023, generating revenue of €149m and creating 700 jobs.
"This means that the tourism sector can have a positive impact on the economy, generate and sustain employment, while at the same time improving the quality of life within the County.”
Sligo Tourism Ltd and Sligo County Council are the main drivers, however collaboration is at the heart of the strategy, with tourism businesses and agencies working in partnership to implement the goals.
At the launch were (l-r) Standing: Chris Gonley, Des Faul, Neil Faulkner, Joe Corcoran, Ann Campbell, Gail McGibbon. Seated: Síle Garrett Haran, Mary McGuckin, Ciarán Hayes, Cllr Seamus Kilgannon, Cllr Marie Casserly and Pól O Conghaile.
Compiling the strategy involved wide ranging consultation with the tourism industry throughout County Sligo. A series of County wide and extensive public consultations with key stakeholders were carried out to gather the views, opinions and direction for the strategy.
Focus groups representing Festivals and Events, Adventure and Outdoors, Accommodation, Heritage & Culture, Entertainment & Retail, and Food all contributed to the process.
The strategy focuses on Product Development, Marketing and Industry Training all with the aim to ensure that by 2023 County Sligo is a top 10 performing county, having a strong and diversified all year round tourism economy.
Neil Faulkner who has recently been appointed as Manager of Sligo Tourism explained, “the Yeats theme is central to tourism development in the County. The strategy highlights the development of Yeats trails and the potential of the Yeats’ family heritage to support increased visitor spend, increased bed nights and to give County Sligo market differentiation.
The Wild Atlantic Way has been an extremely successful branding and marketing initiative, however with more focus on increasing visitor numbers North of Galway, Sligo is ideally placed to make the Yeats legacy more appealing to a wider audience”.