Fáilte Ireland has unveiled a new tourism brand named ‘Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands’ which is designed to boost tourism and drive visitor growth across the Midlands region.
The brand elements, including the name, logo and what the brand stands for, were developed following extensive research with consumers in Ireland, the US, Britain, Germany and France. Over 10,000 consumers were interviewed in the process.
The new brand will leverage a growing tourism trend for soft activities by encouraging visitors to be ‘active in nature’ and to explore the Midlands region off the beaten tracks through a range of activities, including walking, food, cycling, fishing, and boating routes.
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The River Shannon will be a central focus of the brand, with a Shannon master plan currently being developed by Fáilte Ireland in partnership with Waterways Ireland to drive tourism opportunities both on and off the water, and in the towns surrounding the river.
Another asset for the brand will be the Beara Breifne Way, where a walking and trail experience will be developed to international standards. The activation master plan will see a number of towns along the route identified as walking hubs to support this ambition and drive visitors into nearby areas.
A series of food networks and trails will also be developed as part of the new brand.
Launching 'Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands' in Athlone, minister for transport, tourism and sport Shane Ross said, “I’m delighted to launch 'Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands' – a new brand which will significantly enhance the Midlands as a tourism experience and bring growth and jobs to the whole region. We have always been committed to ensuring that Ireland’s success as a world-class tourist destination is shared among the regions. Some of the country’s finest natural assets are in the Midlands, including spectacular lakes, walkways and blueways. 'Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands' will bring these gems to life, offering a unique experience to both domestic and international visitors.”
An initial €2 million has been allocated to start the development stage of the brand, with further funding to follow. This first round of investment will help to develop visitor experiences, support industry development and develop marketing campaigns for the region.
© 2018 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.