Challenge now for Longford is to convince Center Parcs visitors to extend their stay in the county
Longford County Council worked tirelessly with neighbouring Counties to promote and lobby for a unique tourism brand for the Midlands and Shannon region.
In 2018, Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands was launched. This new brand fits very comfortable with the Center Parcs concept and offers the opportunity to explore the green heartlands of Ireland’s natural beauty, where activity and relaxation are centred around rural communities.
The Hidden Heartlands lifestyle can be discovered across a lattice work of land and water trails, showcased by the iconic River Shannon and the Beara Breifne Way.
County Longford is centrally located, making it both attractive as a destination and a base for exploring large parts of Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands. The County is easily accessible from any part of Ireland.
Dotted with sparking lakes amid rolling hills, wooded walks, the Royal Canal on its way to the River Shannon and award-winning villages, Longford offers the visitor an authentic holiday experience. Longford, with its rustic and tranquil nature together with its sense of history, has the capacity to build its product portfolio to support the Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands brand.
In 2017, Longford County Council launched a Tourism Strategy which sets out the Council’s vision for the development of tourism in the County.
The Council recognises tourism’s potential as a driver for sustainable and inclusive urban, regional, and rural development. It is working with all stakeholders to deliver on this strategy and promote Longford as a great place to visit.
Michael Nevin, Head of Local Enterprise Office commented “Center Parcs has provided employment opportunities, particularly for young people, across a whole range of categories. It is great to hear that people are also availing of the opportunity to return home to Longford. Suppliers of goods and services in Longford and throughout the Midlands Region are also provided with the opportunity to do business with Center Parcs.
“This year, for the first time, Longford was represented at Meitheal. This is Fáilte Ireland's largest in-Ireland event, and is hosted on an annual basis. Over 300 international buyers attended the two day workshop with pre-arranged scheduled appointments between Irish trade partners and overseas buyers. Longford was represented by the Tourism Office, Knights and Conquest and Lough Ree Distillery. Feedback from the event was very positive with a lot of interest in the Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands brand and curiosity about Center Parcs.”
Barbara Heslin, Director of Services said, “Center Parcs Longford Forest will firmly place County Longford front and centre of future tourism promotional and marketing campaigns. The immediate challenge for County Longford is to enhance all other aspects of its tourism product and to persuade Center Parcs visitors that Longford offers an authentic visitor experience and convinces them to extend their stay in the County.”
Work continues to be carried out by the Council on the Mid Shannon Wilderness Park, the Royal Canal Greenway, the Literary Trail and the Rebel Trail. Longford County Council is confident that, when all these projects are delivered in the next few years, County Longford will be viewed as one of the top tourism and visitor destinations in the Country.