“Great places to live are also great places to visit” – Midlands tourism workshop hears how communities are key to region’s tourism success

Communities from across Ireland’s Midlands region attended a community tourism workshop held by the Community Wetlands Forum (CWF) in Longford earlier this month.

The event showcased the opportunities that exist in the Midlands to develop sustainable community-led visitor experiences focused on the natural environment.

CWF believes the conservation of Ireland’s wetlands in a sustainable way can help empower unique tourism experiences leaving a transformative legacy of prosperity for communities.

– Martina O’Moore, Clann Credo. Photo: Shelley Corcoran Photography

The forum heard from representatives of community tourism experiences nationwide, including the Arigna Mining Experience, in Co Roscommon, a popular visitor attraction that launched its successful initiative during a period of community transition.

Mary Mulvey, Community Wetlands Forum company secretary commented: “This region has the potential to transform the tourism offering, and what better way than through community-owned and developed accommodation and attractions. Communities have been the cornerstone of Irish tourism for decades, from organising annual festivals and events, to the tireless work of Tidy Towns and Heritage Towns.

“We know from experience that one of the best ways of ensuring great tourism success, is through mobilising a community, getting their buy-in and empowering them to deliver on the future they envisage for their families and communities. Great places to live are also great places to visit.”

– Ahmet Can Gikla, Liv Hafner, Chiara Campieri, and Victor Roffet of Good Energies Alliance Ireland. Photo: Shelley Corcoran Photography

The event, entitled ‘Inspiring Community Tourism Experiences’ was chaired by Carmel Fox, a leader in community tourism and local development who developed the successful Ballyhoura brand.

Representatives from relevant stakeholders, including Fáilte Ireland and local authorities, were on hand to engage with participants and exhibitors, offering services to assist communities with their tourism projects.

“Community-based tourism enterprises exist in every part of Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands, delivering powerful and far-reaching economic and social benefits which help local communities across the region to thrive,” said Paddy Mathews, head of Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands, Fáilte Ireland.

See Changing Ireland’s previous story about a community-owned hotel in Co Monaghan: