UPDATE – Notes on the Cork Tourism Perspective

UPDATE – Cork Branding Meeting – 16th October 2015 Following on from the ‘Branding Workshop’ held in May 2015 The group working on the proposed strategy for promoting Cork City and Cork County to the tourism market reported back. The findings confirmed much of the proposal previously reported. Interesting statistic 350,000 visit Blarney Castle every year. The Wild Atlantic Way is to be complemented by The Ancient East Coast.   Cork is to be promoted as: ‘Ireland’s Maritime Paradise’ with a coastline seen as ‘softer’ and more ‘available’ that much of the west coast of Ireland, with a wealth of maritime stories, connections and heritage. In addition the ready availability of fresh local food, waterbourne leisure activities and a ‘creative vibe’ it is seen that Cork (City and County) should provide a multi-sensory maritime-lead experience based around :- SIGHT: SOUND: TOUCH: TASTE Cork was also described as being ‘quirky’ a factor visitors enjoy. Cork should concentrate on what it is best at and offer a single minded focus; an integrated offering: Areas that had been identified were. Contrasts Interconnectivity Food Living Culture Real Stories Global Connectivity Maritime History Inclusivity (with local people) Individual mind set Visitors tend to be independent minded and free spirited and should be welcomed into an environment that ‘rewarded curiosity’. Visitors look for the multi-sensory experience embodying cultural fusion (food, music, heritage, maritime experience). The target groups that fit the profile of Corks tourism offering are as follows: Culturally Curious – those who have a ‘warm’ feeling towards Ireland, possibly part of the diaspora, looking to engage and relate to the embedded culture and experience. Great Escapers – wanting to break away from a busy working life and looking for a place to relax but also be engaged. Social Energisers – taking part in water sports, walking, music events etc A mix of ‘footloose socialisers’ and ‘connected families’ are looking for a new experience, an opportunity to connect to the place through multi-sensory experience. A place for ‘people like me’ to be ‘part of the vibe’. The specific areas to be focused on for developing the Cork Branding program are seen as: Food, Creative Arts, Infrastructure, Investment, Operational Structure. European funding is an important part of the development plan and mention was made of a program called. ‘Harvesting Our Ocean Wealth’ or ‘HOOW’ as it was referred to. Leader funding was discussed at separate table grouping on investment and the importance of community lead initiatives in all the aspects of the Branding Proposals was noted and agreed upon. Conclusion The overall impression is of a well-defined set of objectives clearly placing ‘Maritime Paradise’ at the centre of the effort. The objectives of the Cork Tourism Branding Initiative align perfectly with the findings of the ‘Mizen Strategic Local Development Plan’ and with the objectives and opportunities of local Communities. David Precious – Mizen Community Partnership