The sunny south east has lived up to its name this year, for sure. In the past week, we’ve heard many happily commenting on why you’d never go anywhere when there’s such splendid weather at home, and when we’re blessed with such coastal and rural scenery.
And, as we point out on News 22 and 23, the great efforts being made to beautify the city have been in fantastic evidence these past few marvellous weeks.
When there’s good weather, there’s nowhere better than Waterford city and county.
However, we were surprised to learn that Waterford was listed as low as number nine in a poll of which county those polled holiday in.
Again the west coast was tops but, contrary to popular thinking, Waterford featured ahead of Kilkenny.
By the way, Kerry was the winner followed by Galway and other western counties The article referred to ‘staycations’ and was run by myhome.ie, the property website, owned by The Irish Times, which no doubt related also to holiday home rentals.
The result is hard to believe judging from the huge numbers visiting Tramore and Dunmore and other coastal destinations last week.
Given that Waterford and Kilkenny are so accessible to Dublin, maybe both are viewed more as a weekend or day trip destination, but still was a surprising statistic and maybe highlights again about our lack of clout in terms of tourism marketing and promotion in the national market This is of course, Spraoi week in Waterford, which will soon be followed by the Tramore Races and Kilkenny Arts Week but in terms of publicity, we believe those great events do not attract the PR levels of either the Galway Arts Festival, its Races or the Rose of Tralee.
The ‘Wild Atlantic Woe’ series of reports carried by this newspaper has galvanised our public representatives into action to include Waterford in the Atlantic Way marketing .
Maybe they could also lobby for more funds for our festivals too.
Spraoi of course is looking for extra donations this weekend to make up for some of the loss of financial support from Fáilte Ireland.
As we can see from the numbers visiting here in the fine weather we do have a fine product and often of better value than the higher priced destinations of Galway, Clare and Kerry.
Perhaps the better value concept needs to be used more in these tougher times – as well as that, we’re very easy to reach now thanks to the motorway system.
We know Kildare people who can get here to the coast in an hour and half which is easier to reach than Wicklow thanks to the M9, by no means a ‘road to nowhere’ as was claimed elsewhere in print of late.
This should be used more to our advantage now, and rather than be seen as a way out, we ought to champion it as a convenient way for visitors to get here.
Tramore has been doing well thanks to new promotions like the Promenade Festival and the Amusement park anniversary last weekend, and with Spraoi coming up along with the races, it looks like a positive year on the tourism front.
And forget not Winterval at year’s end! Good experiences can now be relayed easily to friends back home via the social media, and thanks to sites such as ‘Waterford In My Pocket’, spreading the good word about Waterford has never been easier.
Be sure to play your part.