Strategy aims to electrify tourism in the county that hosts Electric Picnic

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

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news@leinsterexpress.ie

Electric Picnic tourism laois

Oh for a slice of the crowd that visit the Electric Picnic.

Laois attracts 50,000 Electric Picnic revellers and while the prisons may also attract a lot of 'visitors' but the county is off the mark when it comes to tourism - a fact a new five-year Strategic Plan accepts but wants to change.

Laois TD and Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan will be on hand to formally launch 'an ambitious' new Laois Tourism plan for the future in Castle Durrow, which itself made it to the top ten TripAdvisor list of Irish hotels.

'A Strategic Plan For Tourism in Laois 2018-2023' is the culmination of a year long research and consultation process by W2 Consulting. The former British and Irish Lion and Irish rugby star Keith Wood is a director of W2. It was a joint venture by Laois County Council, Laois Partnership Company and Laois Tourism.

In a statement, Laois Tourism say the Strategic Plan calls for a rebranding of the Laois Tourism offering. The plan acknowledges the relatively low level of performance in Laois from a sector which is prospering and growing nationally in terms of tourist numbers, tourist spending, investment and socio-economic value.

The statement issued by Ian Finnan, Chairman of Laois Tourism, said the plan is optimistic.

"The Strategic Plan also strikes a confident note that while it is a challenging and competitive environment for Laois Tourism there is vast potential and opportunity for progress, development and improvement over the lifetime of the strategy," said a statment.

The Plan notes that by 2025 there will be over 10 million visitors to Ireland annually and that Laois has the capacity to develop its tourism offering, infrastructure and profile to benefit more significantly than in the past.

"Laois is currently one of Ireland's least visited counties and Laois' revenue and visitor numbers from tourism is the third lowest in the country.

"The core purpose of the five year Strategic Plan for Laois Tourism is to address this under­ performance and to provide a blueprint and template for the industry to achieve considerable improvements in its tourism ranking and rating through the co-operation of all sectors and stakeholders within the county," said a statment.

Laois received the least funding in capital tourism grants from Fáilte Ireland over seven years according to the figures published last year. Laois was granted €93,750 from a €125 million fund between 2007 and 2014.

W2 Consulting says it has undertaken a wide range of consultative assignments in Ireland and the UK.

It prepared an economic impact report of Trump Doonbeg International Links & Hotel Resort and also developed a five year strategic plan for Cycling Ireland.

The company carried out a five year strategic plan for Boyne Valley Tourism in Meath and completed a Belfast City Tourism Strategy.

The plan will be launched in Castle Durrow next Thursday, February 1, at 7.30pm.