Tourist Boost is Envisaged

Kieran Walsh

An upbeat assessment of Waterford’s tourism future was presented by Waterford Council Chief Executive Michael Walsh before a large gathering of retail and hospitality professionals last week. .
Predicting a range of pending projects for the city as “transformational”, Mr Walsh described the investment in the North Quay as “imminent” and predicted a doubling of city centre footfall to between 8 and 10 million once the Alhokair project is up and running.
Mr Walsh remains hopeful that construction on the North Quay project could commence next year and could be completed by 2022.

At present, overnight stays in Waterford have been estimated at 500,000 annually, most for one night. By doubling the length of stay and the number of visitors, Mr Walsh believes this could quadruple bed nights to two million within a relative short timeframe. “We should not be just a ‘transit’ city, which we are to some extent currently, but to bring about a positive change in that respect will require more beds,” he stated.

Mr Walsh referred to the success of Killarney and the quality of their customer service. The challenge in Waterford is get to that level and stay there, he added.

Pictured at City Hall for ‘Transforming the Customer Experience in Waterford’ were Lar Power (Director of Services, Economic Development & Planning, Waterford City & County Council), Alf Dunbar (guest speaker), Paul Nolan (Waterford Chamber President) and Michael Walsh (CEO, Waterford City & County Council).

Pictured at City Hall for ‘Transforming the Customer Experience in Waterford’ were Lar Power (Director of Services, Economic Development & Planning, Waterford City & County Council), Alf Dunbar (guest speaker), Paul Nolan (Waterford Chamber President) and Michael Walsh (CEO, Waterford City & County Council).


“If you give visitors a positive experience, they will come back and tell their friends so we need to get that message out there by whatever means are available, be it through PR or social media,” he stated.
“We should be ambitious. We ought to strive to do things better…these retail and tourism targets can be achieved but we need to be the best possible ambassadors for our city and county.”
“When you see investors like Al Hokair looking to come to Waterford, you know we have something great to offer,” said Mr Walsh. “It is now our job to exceed their expectations and showcase Waterford as a leading destination in Ireland, where people will want to come, will want to recommend and will want to return. Customer service is key to that and with so many here today willing to put the time into improving our offering, I know that we are heading in the right direction.”
Top performance coach Alf Dunbar also addressed the event which was titled ‘Transforming the Customer Experience in Waterford’.

Mr Dunbar delivered his ‘You Are The Difference’ customer service coaching programme which is currently being used by a wide range of retail and business organisations around the world.
With over 10 years practical retail experience and 17 years as a top performance coach he has personally coached thousands of people from a wide variety of retailing and service backgrounds helping them to achieve exceptional results.

Waterford Chamber CEO Gerald Hurley offered an overview on a number of initiatives in planning which will focus on transforming the customer experience in Waterford, including a family passport for staff to enjoy the key attractions across the city and county for free.
Another is regular free bus excursions for staff to network, while Waterford Chamber Skillnet is also looking to develop training for all businesses to avail of, from master classes, workshops, farm trips and social networking events.

“These are such exciting times for Waterford, so it’s time to put our best foot forward and step up to the role of Ambassador for this great county of ours,” said Mr Hurley.
“We have a saying in Chamber which is ‘The collective voice is stronger’. That is what today is all about, if we work together, support each other and join our efforts to promote Waterford, we are one step closer to achieving our goal.”

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