Fáilte Ireland has confirmed the shortlist of ten top tourism towns from across the country which have been selected for their 2014 Tourism Towns Award. The shortlist was announced at the National Tidy Towns Awards in The Helix, Dublin.
Two overall winners will ultimately share the ultimate accolade of Ireland’s top Tourism Town – for the best large Town and the best small town – when the winners are unveiled in November by Fáilte Ireland following further assessments from the independent panel of judges.
The shortlisted towns are:
Ardmore, Waterford [small town]
Carrick on Shannon, Leitrim [small town]
Glengarriff, Cork [small town]
Kinsale, Cork [small town]
Lismore, Waterford [small town]
Portmagee, Kerry [small town]
Killarney, Kerry [large town]
Cobh, Cork [large town]
Westport, Mayo [large town]
Kilkenny, Kilkenny [large town]
As part of their shortlisting, the selected towns have already been subject (over the last few weeks) to a series of unannounced inspections from a crack team of independent ‘secret shoppers’ who visited each location and assessed the quality of visitor experience to be had.
Fiona Buckley from Fáilte Ireland, highlighted the characteristics of a tourism town and looked forward to overall winners being announced later this year –
“This award provides a tangible recognition of those magic ingredients which give the Irish welcome a unique advantage – people, place and passion. The two ultimate winners will be announced in November but, in the meantime, an independent panel will be scrutinising all ten shortlisted finalists within the Best Small Town and Best Large Town categories to see what they have to offer and determine which Irish towns roll out the greatest welcome.”
The Tourism Town award focuses on how participating towns have developed their local area in the following key tourism areas:
Sense of Place – How the town tells its own unique story to visitors, what’s special about it, and what distinguishes it from other towns.
Tourism Experiences – What the town has to offer visitors.
Local Involvement in Developing Tourism- How the local community works together to provide an authentic visitor experience.
Development and promotion of the town – How the town takes a unified approach to marketing and developing the town into a “tourism town”.