Christie Walsh from Kerry had asked the conference if anyone knew how many pubs there were on the Fáilte Ireland website and how it might be made easier to get them onto the website. The criteria for inclusion seemed “very hard” he remarked.
Padraig Cribben responded that he was at a loss to know how to improve this as the Federation had had meetings with Fáilte Ireland along the lines of Wild Atlantic Way and other projects but he also suspected that there’s a certain embarrassment around “visiting dignitaries being taken to a pub”.
Over the last number of months he’d been trying to openly address this issue “… because if you look at the most recent statistics from 1,500 tourist exit interviews, the Number One item for 79% was being entertained in an Irish pub – it was the Number One by a mile.
“How the organisations who’re charged in this country with promoting tourism would try to blank-out pubs from being part of the tourist offering is beyond me,” he told the 210 delegates in Westport’s Castlecourt Hotel, “Along the Wild Atlantic Way there are 512 pubs offering entertainment, food and/or accommodation from Kinsale to Malin Head.”
Support Your Local’s Campaign Manager Bart Storan shared Padraig Cribben’s concerns at the conference about the way the tourism story is being written and advised pubs to get more involved in “leveraging” this tourism story.
“The drinks industry is an absolutely essential part of the tourism drive here in Ireland,” he concluded.