The €233m Center Parcs Longford Forest holiday resort is due to open its doors in the summer of 2019
A veritable ‘who’s who’ of local business representatives gathered in Longford Golf Club this morning for an exciting 'Build Brand Longford' event organised and hosted by Longford Chamber of Commerce.
Ahead of the €233 million Center Parcs Longford Forest holiday resort welcoming its first visitors on Monday, July 29, this Chamber breakfast briefing heard from an expert panel, including Center Parcs CEO Martin Dalby and Dalton Philips, CEO Dublin Airport Authority.
Center Parcs Longford Forest is the most significant tourist development in Ireland and the economic impact of the resort, nestled in Newcastle Wood just outside Ballymahon, and the opportunities it presents, was discussed and explored.
RTÉ’s Sineád Hussey was MC and Longford Chamber President Niamh Donlon welcomed everyone present and she highlighted the significance of Center Parcs for county Longford and the region.
Ms Donlon explained, "The big change that comes with Longford forest is psychological. For the first time we will have 2,000+ people saying they are holidaying in Longford each week. It is changing the narrative, the perception and is worth an absolute fortune in marketing for us."
The Chamber President continued, "We should be an obvious destination for lovers of activity based holidays and outdoor pursuits. We have a niche and truly immersive experience to sell here in Longford."
"The hope is that our speakers this morning, all industry leaders, will provoke us, challenge us and ultimately inspire us to do better, think smarter and work towards the investments that will underpin a cohesive and commercially viable tourism offering."
Center Parcs CEO Martin Dalby advised business owners that their window for catching some of the tourist footfall from the park, is in the days before and after their breaks there.
“When people come to Center Parcs, they tend to stay in Center Parcs for the entirety of their stay,” he revealed, before encouraging local businesses to grasp the opportunity with both hands.
Dalton Phillips, CEO of the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA), offered an insight into his role and the work done by the team of DAA in their bid to attract more users for the airport and, in turn, more people to Ireland.
He also discussed the importance of increasing connectivity between Dublin Airport and the Midland, especially with the Hidden Heartlands initiative now in operation.
Mark McGovern of Hidden Heartlands outlined the concept of Hidden Heartlands and how businesses in Longford can capitalise on that.
Longford County Council Cathaoirleach Micheál Carrigy said in order to build on brand Longford, we first have to become ambassadors ourselves. “We must not waste the opportunity Center Parcs has afforded us. To build a brand, we need people to be fully behind it.”
For more on the 'Build Brand Longford' event, pick up next week’s copy of the Longford Leader.