THE SHORTLIST FOR the Fáilte Ireland 2015 Tourism Towns Awards were announced this afternoon.
Ten towns, both little and large, were given the nod for giving a top notch visitor experience.
County Kerry is by far the most impressive, with four towns listed in the top ten. Both Cork and Waterford have two towns each on the shortlist.
Best Small Town
- Adare, Co Limerick
- Ardmore, Co Waterford
- Clonakilty, Co Cork
- Kenmare, Co Kerry
- Lismore, Co Waterford
- Sneem, Co Kerry
Best Large Town
- Cobh, Co. Cork
- Killarney, Co Kerry
- Kilkenny, Co Kilkenny
- Tralee, Co Kerry
The selected towns have impressed during a series of unannounced inspections from a crack team of independent ‘secret shoppers’ over the past few weeks.
Speaking about the awards Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring said:
It is great to see so many new towns shortlisted for the Tourism Towns Award this year, in particular those located along and around the Wild Atlantic Way and within Ireland’s Ancient East. The effort that these towns are making in the presentation of their local surroundings, as well as in the experience of their visitors, is to be commended and they should all be proud to be included in this shortlist.
Fáilte Ireland’s Paddy Mathews said the award is about recognising those Irish towns and villages “where the local community goes the extra mile to enhance their appeal to tourists”.
The overall winners will be announced at a ceremony on 25 November where two overall winners will ultimately share the accolade of Ireland’s top Tourism Town.
‘Ireland’s Hidden Gem’
Meanwhile, while Offaly may not have made the final cut, it’s launching a new €100,000 campaign today to promote the county as ‘Ireland’s Hidden Gem.’
Offaly Tourism Group, through the new branding project, wants to grow overseas visitors numbers from 37,000 (2013) to 75,000 in 2020 and increase tourist revenue in the county by €8 million.
It’s also believed that the rebranding of Offaly Tourism has the potential to create 700 new jobs – with every 55 overseas visitors supporting one tourism job.