Donegal is now the ‘Media’s Favourite Place in Ireland’.
Michael Collins, founder and Managing Director of TravelMedia.ie presented this prestigious award to Donegal County Council Chief Executive Seamus Neely and Cathaoirleach Cllr. Gerry McMonagle at yesterday’s Donegal Tourism Seminar in Harvey’s Point Hotel.
“This is an excellent achievement for Donegal and a wonderful addition to our other recent accolades including being named ‘Coolest Place on the Planet 2017’ by National Geographic Traveller and ‘Ireland’s Hidden Gem’ by Independent Travel readers” says Cathaoirleach Cllr. McMonagle.
Donegal received this prestigious award at the Travel Media Awards ceremony in Dublin last June but it was only at yesterday’s conference that the award was officially presented.
These Travel Media awards have grown to become one of the highlights of the annual travel industry calendar and calls on the media to vote and give their say on who they think stands out from the travel industry crowd – past winners include Aer Lingus, MSC Cruises and Crystal Ski Holidays. To be voted as the ‘Media’s Favourite Place in Ireland’ is testament to the increasing popularity of Donegal as the perfect holiday destination on the Wild Atlantic Way.
Michael Collins said “This was the first time we introduced this category. Instead of always asking the media about their favourite international places we thought, let’s bring it back home and ask them about Ireland. It was really interesting to see Donegal win, with the capital Dublin coming second.”
Speaking yesterday Seamus Neely said he was thrilled that Donegal has been recognised by the travel media sector and said that “we have been building positive relationships with the travel media in recent years through our work with Donegal Tourism and the Donegal County Council Communications Office in promoting the Govisitdonegal.com platform and our Donegal brand. This award is a welcome sign that our communications and PR activities are reaching the right audience and our recognition as ‘Media’s Favourite Place in Ireland’ is very much appreciated”.
Over 200 attendees participated in yesterday’s Donegal Tourism Seminar which was hosted in the stunning setting of Harvey’s Point Hotel on the beautiful Lough Eske. This seminar focused on how best to connect what is now the ‘Coolest Place’ and heard from a line up of tourism and travel experts who shared their expertise on emerging travel trends, tourism strategies and marketing techniques.
This included Mathew Jackson Managing Director and Publisher of National Geographic Traveller (UK) who is credited with naming Donegal as the Coolest Place on the Planet in 2017. Matthew visited Donegal for the first time earlier this year and became an instant fan.
Speaking at the seminar he explained why Donegal received this accolade saying “Donegal is off the mainstream radar and not easy to access but on the cusp of a breakthrough. On the one hand you have the big pushes like the Wild Atlantic Way and the recent filming of Star Wars; on the other hand you only have to drive a few miles to have a beach or a road completely to yourself. It’s a warm hearted place, fantastic food and hospitality but wilderness always feels just a stone’s throw away. And it is a world class wilderness. So we thought it deserved a big year!”.
The seminar also heard from inspiration speakers including Carolynne Harrison, General Manager of the Shandon Hotel & Spa who wowed the audience with her remarkable story of how she tackled the ‘weaker months’ by being creative and driving up occupancy in the winter and maintaining the jobs of over 120 staff and managing costs to ensure profit margins were on target.
Social media and digital experts Greg Fry and Michael Collins enthused the audience with their practical tips and techniques of making social media and digital marketing work for tourism businesses in Donegal. They believe that content remains king and having clear business goals and a clearly defined strategy producing measurable results is essential for success.
Wild Atlantic Way Client Services Manager for Fáilte Ireland Joan Crawford presented a profile of the Wild Atlantic Way visitor and why they are coming to the west coast of Ireland. Market research shows that these visitors have no itinerary and they are ‘going where time took us’ drawing on their spontaneous side and looking forward to finding the hidden gems off the beaten track. This provides a great opportunity for places such as Donegal which for many is still a place of discovery.
The seminar concluded with a strong message from each of the panellists which highlighted the need to continue to collaborate and network. It is the Donegal experience that visitors want when they come to Donegal and there is a clear willingness among those in the Donegal tourism sector to work together to ensure that Donegal becomes the number one tourism destination in the country.