Opening of Center Parcs Longford Forest has lifted confidence and self-belief in the county
Longford County Council's Tourism Strategy includes an ambitious programme of work to support the fledgling tourism sector in the County.
The heritage, unspoiled countryside and natural assets which are available in the County provide the necessary ingredients for the development of the tourism sector.
The investment by Center Parcs Longford Forest and Longford County Council provides opportunities for individuals and communities to develop supporting services, amenities and accommodation which will appeal to visitors interested in activity based or 'slow' tourism and will create employment in our communities.
Longford County Council Cathaoirleach Cllr Michéal Carrigy, who is also Chairperson of the County Longford Tourism Committee, outlined the partnership approach being adopted by the Council in working with Roscommon, Offaly and Westmeath County Councils, Waterways Ireland, Bord na Móna, National Parks and Wildlife Service and Fáilte Ireland on a shared ambition for Lough Ree and the Mid Shannon. The aim is to activate the potential of the current and emerging wild places of Lough Ree and the Mid Shannon for local people and their livelihoods, for visitors and for ecosystem services.
Longford town will benefit from the tourism and cultural dividend because of Center Parcs Longford Forest. St. Mel's Cathedral, the Camlin River Walk, the Albert Reynolds Peace Park, the Backstage Theatre, and the numerous bars and restaurants in Longford Town stand to benefit by establishing themselves as 'must-see' attractions on any visit to Longford.
Cathaoirleach Carrigy recently spoke at the Building Brand Longford event. He said “Where once we could only dream of becoming a tourism destination, now we face a very bright future, a future where Longford will become a tourism hotspot, a destination to cater for diverse segments of the tourism market from family activity holidays, to immersive heritage experiences, to literary trails, to the simple pleasure of walking or cycling in our woods or along our rivers and canals.”
He continued, “Longford can benefit significantly from the opening of Center Parcs Longford Forest. The opening has lifted confidence and self-belief in the County.
“It feels like County Longford has finally taken its place at the top table and since the original announcement there is a buoyancy and feel good factor in Longford which needs to be nurtured and fostered.
“A good name and reputation are hard won. We have been presented with an ideal opportunity to build a tourism brand on the back of big projects such as Center Parcs Longford Forest and Knights and Conquests in Granard. Projects like these will enhance our reputation as a go to County.
“When visitors experience the Longford welcome they will realise that they have arrived in one of the friendliest places in Ireland and this will further enhance our reputation as a great place to visit.
“County Longford needs to take its lead from Center Parcs and provide product and service which emulates the visitor experience in Longford Forest. Longford can provide individuals and families the opportunity to reconnect, be active in nature, immerse themselves in culture and heritage and experience the County’s beautiful unspoiled landscape.
“We need to continually talk up our County, highlight all the positives that exist in the County and go out of our way to ensure that visitors’ expectations are not only met but exceeded. Longford County Council and County Longford Tourism Committee are working hard together and are well placed to maximise the potential that Center Parcs will bring. However, we need to get the message out that tourism is everyone’s business. Each citizen of the County is a tourism ambassador and they have a vital role in making Longford the place to be.”