Great to see the Waterford City Council and Tourism Authorities get behind the new initiative called Destinations Waterford. The city and county cannot engage in too much more self pity and loss in job numbers caused by the recession and glass closure.
These traumatic events have occurred and it is time to try and get on with getting visitors back to Waterford. The city manager, Michael Walsh, met with the Tanaiste on a number of occasions last week when the Waterford case was pressed. Given what has happened, the case for government investment in the glass centre and Viking quarter is justified.
Like Newcastle on Tyne in England, which lost its industries and recovered, through building new employment options, Waterford can likewise come back. The strategy plan of Destination Waterford will be a key component and is good to see Failte Ireland come on board. But as the city manager has pointed out, the public sector has to provide a solution.
The loss to the country of Waterford Crystal is a huge negative for Irish tourism. The Americans may not be travelling much this year or next but they will in the future and Waterford needs to have facilities and visitor attractions for them. A return of the hundreds of thousands of American visitors is envisaged as part of the plan in a few years time as the full potential of the Glass centre is realised.
For the city centre of Waterford, it could mean a bigger boost as the tour buses will no longer be out on the edge at Kilbarry but at the new centre on the Mall and, later when built, the new Glass plant on the Quay near the Clock Tower.
The potential recovery for tourism in Waterford looks sound with the plan. This may seem a far way off now given the depth of this recession but it will come.
Making the city more competitive for the visitor, improving parking facilities, having the desired accomodation will all be part of the picture. The vision looks good and let us hope that the co-operation sought from the various stakeholders will be there.
Budget Blues but some signs of stability
The budget will have hit lots of families with the fall in child benefit, social welfare, public sector pay, but it does seem that there are signs of stability emerging. Taxes did not rise on income and VAT was reduced by a half per cent, a bigger reduction and no reduction on alcohol taxes would have been a better move.
The out of control borrowing was arrested and the world financial markets see Ireland in a better light than a few months ago when the banks were in trouble and the government looked weak. The big challenge will come if the public servants do not accept the pay cuts, even though living costs have fallen so much. Expect a difficult January ahead as pay cuts replace the unpaid leave option.
Could the lower paid in the public service be cut less? That could be a contentious area and may be one of the bargaining points. These are hard decisions for a government to make but hard decisions are needed and when the public see that, they know that there is some leadership at last and that the country can be pulled around.
The past week has seen rioting in Greece and their Government bond values fell. We could see the same here if we do not get realism. Blaming bankers may be a popular sport but it does not solve the hole in government finances. More ideas are needed to stimulate business and get the economy moving again.