Heritage is not a luxury – Lloyd Grossman

Use of ‘starchitects’ criticised at Fáilte Ireland tourism conference

TV personality Loyd Grossman, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring and Redmond O’Donoghue, chairman of Fáilte Ireland at the ‘Culture and Heritage Tourism - An Emerging Economic Engine?’ conference in Dublin.

TV personality Loyd Grossman, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring and Redmond O’Donoghue, chairman of Fáilte Ireland at the ‘Culture and Heritage Tourism - An Emerging Economic Engine?’ conference in Dublin.

Fri, Apr 26, 2013, 09:14

Ireland should be promoting its heritage because it gives it a unique competitive advantage in a world where everywhere looks the same, writer and presenter Loyd Grossman told the Fáilte Ireland tourism conference yesterday.

Mr Grossman, chairman of the UK’s Heritage Alliance, as well as the face of a range of sauces, said the world was becoming homogenised.

“That’s the downside of globalisation. Every place tends to look the same and it is those places that don’t look the same which have a unique competitive advantage,” he said.

“The one great thing we have , even though we are tucked away in this very soggy northwestern corner of Europe . . . is lots of stuff.

“No one can visit Ireland or the UK and say ‘there’s nothing here’ because just look around you, everywhere. The natural environment, the historic environment, the intangible heritage that we have is so rich that it’s something that everyone in the world is going to demand.”

Mr Grossman said “heritage is not something that should be seen as a luxury. It is absolutely vital to every aspect of our society and it’s impossible to have a country that’s in a state of wellbeing unless the heritage is healthy” .

He said tourism must begin at home. “Any place that’s worth visiting has got to be, in the first place, somewhere that’s worth living in.”

Greg Richards, a professor of leisure studies at the University of Tilburg, said it was no longer enough to commission a “starchitect” to design an iconic building because similar buildings could be found anywhere.

“I saw, as I came in, the new bridge on the Liffey. I thought ‘oh, there’s another Calatrava’.”