Following on from the success of the ‘Wild Atlantic Way’ and ‘Ireland’s Ancient East’, Fáilte Ireland will reveal long-awaited details of a new tourism brand for the Midlands region later this week.
The new tourism brand will be unveiled by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross, in the Hodson Bay Hotel in Athlone this Thursday, April 12, at 11am.
The launch of the new brand comes after last October’s announcement that €33 million in Government funding was being set aside for “new tourism products” including what was described as a “Lakelands tourism brand to promote the Midlands counties to both national and international tourists.” The news was welcomed at the time by Minister Kevin “Boxer” Moran and his fellow local Minister, Denis Naughten, who said “The promotion of the Midland counties as the Lakeland region now puts our area on a similar standing to the Wild Atlantic Way and the Ancient East.”
The Clonmacnois site and some Westmeath attractions, such as Athlone Castle and the Hill of Uisneach, were promoted under the ‘Ireland’s Ancient East’ brand which was launched in 2015.
However, the ‘Ancient East’ encompassed a vast area - stretching from Cavan and Monaghan to parts of east Cork - and some questioned the extent to which it has benefited the Midlands.
Roscommon was not part of the ‘Ancient East’ and a Fine Gael Senator from the county, Maura Hopkins, welcomed the news that the new tourism brand for the region is to be announced this week.
Senator Hopkins said she had discussed the initiative at a meeting with Fáilte Ireland’s business development director, Paul Keeley, and had outlined that while Roscommon has “much to offer in terms of tourism” there is huge untapped potential within the county.
“The tourism sector has the potential to provide a huge economic boost for Roscomon, but there needs to be a strong brand that will resonate with potential tourists and be used to properly market our tourist amenities” she said.
“I have been emphasising strongly both to representatives in Failte Ireland, Tourism Ireland, and to the Minister with responsibility for Tourism, Brendan Griffin, that much more needs to be done to promote the Midlands area” said Senator Hopkins,
The results of a recent comprehensive destination and feasibility study for the Midlands region, commissioned by Fáilte Ireland, demonstrated the need for a tourism brand to differenciate from the existing brands on the East and West coasts.