This was last week’s editorial – apologies for the delay in posting!
Last week saw the launch of TEAM Cork, a quirkily monikered unit within Cork City Council that is designed to make sure Cork gets its fair share of tourists.
The Tourism, Events, Arts and Marketing (see what they did there – TEAM) unit aims to boost visitor numbers to Cork city by one million and generate an extra €120m per year in tourist spend.
And there’s no doubt that most of the city is preparing to put its best foot forward for the visit of the British monarch later this month. What some of the people behind the protest movements don’t seem to understand is that very few of us are in any kind of thrall to the British Crown.
What we are, however, in thrall to, is the prospect of all the British TV crews and journalists who will accompany her, and through every medium possible, showcase this city, even if it’s merely as a picturesque background to endless shots of hands shaking and “How d’you do’s”.
Even if every one of those people goes home with a positive impression of Cork, of what’s to be seen here, and of who they meet, and tell their family and friends, that’s a boost. If, as expected, they show our beautiful city on TV channels with more viewers at any given time than we have people in this country, then it’s a win-win situation.
While Queen Elizabeth’s visit is the next major item on the tourism calendar for Cork, it’s the beginning of the season, and the city’s legion of festivals and events will soon begin to roll out.
Here’s hoping that the new TEAM will be able to integrate tourism offerings in the city. A recent article in this newspaper revealead that many of the city’s public attractions are closed on Sundays, the day that most locals and many day-trippers choose to get out and about in Cork.
Another major issue is the level and type of public transport available in the city. A new campaign is underway to introduce public bikes like those available in Dublin, while a letter in this week’s edition reveals that our public transport links can be sadly lacking. Hopefully the TEAM can do some work in that regard also.
We have world-class arts and culture facilities and events and hopefully the TEAM will be able to bring together all of those in an overall strategy to attract tourists of all shapes, sizes and tastes.
With the TEAM clearly under the auspices of Cork City Council, there’s a danger that the focus on Cork City will exclude county-based attractions that add greatly to the value of the visitor experience. It’s to be hoped that TEAM can work closely with Cork County Council, Fáilte Ireland, and local, regional and international bodies to integrate Cork tourism.
With the atrocious weather this week has brought, I have an initial suggestion for TEAM that might prove useful when the Queen comes a-calling. Branded umbrellas. We’re going to need them – and they’ll be a nice souvenir for her.
- Ireland’s friendliest city? (deshocks.wordpress.com)