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Blackwater should be marketed as single tourist entity



East Cork Fine Gael Deputy David Stanton and West Waterford Fine Gael Deputy John Deasy have jointly called for a different approach to marketing and promoting the Blackwater river as a tourist destination.  The East Cork and West Waterford T.D.’s, who between them represent both sides of the Blackwater river boundary, are in the process of coordinating an initiative to market the river as a single entity.

Deputy Stanton said, “We’ve been hearing for some time that individuals involved in tourism on both sides of the river feel slightly marginalized as they are the very edge of the two relevant tourism board areas.  It’s not necessarily a criticism of the tourism boards, it’s probably just a case of being slightly distant from the decision makers in the industry and being somewhat peripheral in geographical terms.”

Deputy Deasy said, “It makes a lot of sense to market the Blackwater area as a single entity.  There is a lot to offer on both sides of the river and as a single destination can easily provide a saleable tourist package for almost any kind of holiday.  When you dig a little you quickly realize the range of activities is extremely diverse, the quality and range of accommodation is really impressive and the natural beauty of the area is fantastic.  The trick is to put all that together in one package.  We have a number of separate tourism groups and bodies in the Blackwater area effectively doing the same thing.  The idea is to suggest coordinating everything with the help of the relevant tourism boards.”

It is understood that both Dail deputies had been contacted independently by constituent groups involved in tourism activities on both sides of the border with a similar view to coordinating a joint marketing approach for the Blackwater area.  

Deasy said, “We have both had initial meetings with different groups and have been in contact with the relevant tourism boards who have agreed to look at the concept and meet within the next week or so.  I think we need to take stock of our assets in the area and think of better ways to sell the product as a whole.  Some operators have begun to do this by themselves with the help of the Enterprise Board.  It’s a matter of identifying what’s out there, achieving a sense of organization and putting a plan together that can be marketed more easily for everyone’s benefit.  The reality is the tourism boards have budgets and experience and their help and support will be crucial.”

Deputy Stanton, “So far we’ve achieved a great deal of verbal support from the people we’ve contacted.  Variations of this concept have been looked at before but never followed through with.  I think we need to start thinking differently about how to generate jobs and local investment and sometimes it’s staring us in the face but just needs a bit more organization and imagination.  With the assistance of the tourism boards I think we can achieve something worthwhile for the people who are relying on tourism for their incomes.”

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