With Center Parcs Longford Forest Resort due to cause a splash in a few years, it’s important that Longford business owners prepare for the onslaught of tourists that will come with it.
That’s according to Longford Tourism Chairperson Cllr Micheál Carrigy, who spoke at the Longford Tourism AGM in Ballymahon on Friday March 24 last.
Together with Longford County Council, the Longford Tourism committee has launched the County Longford Tourism Statement of Strategy and Work Programme 2017-2022, which sets out the overall vision for tourism in the county over the next five years.
“Tourism is going to play a major part in the Longford economy and the more tourism we have, the better,” said Cathaoirleach of Longford County Council Mick Cahill.
The key objective of the Longford Tourism Strategy 2017-2022 is to grow and promote the assets that are unique to Longford, while also working with neighbouring counties on regional products to retain visitors.
There are four key objectives in the Strategy. These include developing a tourism infrastructure in Longford; delivering visitor centric experiences; developing a Longford Tourism Brand; and generating greater awareness of Longford as a tourism destination.
The creation of a universal website for all things Longford, will also be a major project in the near future.
Longford.ie will provide potential visitors with information on the town and county, pointing them in the right direction for attractions, walks, restaurants and heritage sites.
“When we have Longford.ie ready, I think people will be impressed. But we can only load on what we get, so we need information to be sent so the website will be a one-stop shop for anyone who wants to visit Longford,” said Cllr Carrigy.
“We need Longford businesses and Longford people to start talking about Longford in a good way. The more bodies and shoulders behind Longford, the quicker we’ll improve the image.”
The development of Center Parcs Longford Forest holiday village, he said, will go a long way towards promoting the county.
The potential spin-offs from Center Parcs are enormous in terms of employment and sub-supply opportunities, but real potential exists to help transform the tourism sector as County Longford becomes a major tourism destination in its own right.
With up to 2,000 extra visitors to the county expected every week of the year, it’s important that the local businesses and organisations are ready.
“Center Parcs, when up and running successfully, will bring a hundred thousand people to Longford. We need to have our accommodation, our signing, everything ready and on the ground for when those people come,” said Cllr Carrigy.
For more information on Longford Tourism, see www.longfordtourism.ie.