At what should be the start of West Cork’s tourism season, all is quiet.
The lockdown is vital to our recovery, but no-one could have planned for such complete disruption and there is a measure of shock and grief to be dealt with as people see their hard-won progress in recent years and their financial security threatened. It is likely that tourism will operate on a changed footing for at least the next 18 months, and so it makes sense to plan and prepare while we are still on pause.
Here are some simple low-cost and no-cost ways you can improve your visibility and the strength of your offer during lockdown.
1) Check Out the Fáilte Ireland Industry Support Hub
Fáilte Ireland has set up a resource hub which should be your first port of call for information on topics such as managing temporary closure, business liquidity, temporary layoffs and jumpstarting sales.
When your business is listed with Fáilte Ireland, it appears on the customer-facing websites (www.ireland.com, www.discoverireland.ie) which many visitors use to plan their holidays. Sign up, and you will receive up-to-date industry information and access to training workshops and videos, as well as practical supports from our local Fáílte Ireland officers. There is a charge and review involved in listing an accommodation business, but otherwise it is free to register. Review your existing listing, then ask for changes or create a new listing here.
3) Make Sure You are Listed with Pure Cork
Purecork.ie is the official website for the promotion of tourism across Cork city and county. It is supported by Cork County Council, Cork City Council and Fáilte Ireland, and it is proving really popular with international and domestic visitors alike. Google your business name and purecork.ie to see if you are on there already. If not, add your business or an event listing to reach a wider audience. Make sure you continue to take advantage of Pure Cork’s free event listing service when things return to normal!
4) Add Local Depth to Your Offer
Research local stories and facts you can use to add depth to your offer when you begin trading again. Good sources include:
- The excellent Roaringwater Journal.
- The Duchas Clonakilty Heritage
- The Bantry Historical Society
- The Schools’ Collection(the archive of the 1930s National Folklore Project).
5) Be Kind and Be Positive
It is important to be kind in all of the words you address to the outside world, even when you are asking people to stay away for now. It might be hard to be positive at the moment, but you will be welcoming visitors back again, and what West Cork has to offer – peace, community and an abundance of places to socially distance in a meaningful way – will be what people are looking for.
If we use this time productively, we can come back stronger and weather this unexpected storm.
For more tips, see http://wordhoard.ie