Wexford aims to get headstart in summer battle for domestic tourists

Gateway to sunny southeast plans to capitalise on post-Covid lockdown business

Businesses in Wexford are   positioning the county for tourism once travel restrictions are relaxed in July.

Businesses in Wexford are positioning the county for tourism once travel restrictions are relaxed in July.

 

Local business groups in Co Wexford aim to secure “first-mover advantage” in the scrap among Irish regions to attract domestic tourists this year.

Gateway to the region casually known as the “sunny southeast”, it is pushing for a marketing campaign themed “Co Wexford is Open”. The idea is among several proposals sent this week to Heather Humphreys, the Minister for Business, by the county chamber of commerce.

The Reviving Wexford report assesses the county’s options for renewal under several industry headings. Tourism is presented as a prime opportunity to attract business during the ongoing pandemic, given the likelihood of there being pent-up demand from lockdown-weary domestic tourists from nearby Dublin.

Attention of travellers

As the lockdown is unwound over coming months, widespread domestic travel will be allowed again in July. Several prime Irish tourist regions will likely jostle for the attention of travellers who choose to holiday at home, as foreign source markets remain dried-up.

“Co Wexford should invest heavily in tourism and and promote itself as the number one destination to attract domestic tourists,” wrote the chamber. It added that a campaign such as “Co Wexford is Open” could secure it an advantage over other areas.

It is envisaged that the campaign could include input from the county chamber, Wexford County Council and tourism promotion group, Visit Wexford. Up to 400 local businesses will be invited by the chamber onto a Zoom call next week, at which the plan will be among the items discussed.

Continental trips

Fiona Lewis, the chamber’s chief executive, on Thursday kicked off a process of consultation with the county’s various local authority town managers, to discuss what changes would be needed for items such as signage to prepare the county for visitors.

The State’s €10 billion tourism industry is reeling from the impact of the novel coronavirus, which has decimated travel globally. The European Commission is pushing for a limited and safe resumption of continental tourism in the late summer, but it is envisaged that domestic tourists may be the Irish sector’s best hope to generate liquidity in 2020.

The Government this week appointed an industry taskforce to help plan the sector’s renewal, with members including Tom Enright, chief executive of Wexford County Council.