Community Tourism Toolkit
The very essence of experience tourism and bundling is the articulation and bringing to life of an area’s sense of place and people: the foundation on which an authentic selling message is based.
In consultation with Failte Ireland, LEADER in Meath has been developing the community tourism concept and is now about to bring this to life in one chosen community in County Meath in order to develop and pilot community tourism toolkit from the ground up and to then transfer this learning to other interested communities across the county. This particular initiative is being undertaken in partnership with LEADER in County Roscommon where a similar initiative is now underway. Experiential learning in both counties will be applied in finalising this toolkit and in applying the best possible methodologies in achieving community engagement with the tourism sector and in presenting a warm and interactive environment for visitors.
In this context Oldcastle presents an ideal location for this project, given the warmth of its people, its drive to engage with the LEADER programme and the wealth of heritage both within the town and on its doorstep. Oldcastle is a proud town which has, in the past, led the way in developing its own economy and employing its own people. This self-help ethos is very much alive and will be critical to the success of this initiative.
Leading in this local effort will be tourism specialists John Higgins & Associates, based in Bettystown. John points out that community tourism is about new levels of relationships between the host village and tis environs in welcoming visitors. What is particularly appealing to the visitor can be found amoung the varied natural attractions, local resources and talents, the indigenous attributes of a community, including various themes and expression of local culture.
This initiative will focus, for example, on ecology, heritage, culture and adventure tourism as a small sample of the types of special interest products which can be marketed to the outside world. It is anticipated that research associated with the project will lead to the agreement on Oldcastle's unique offering, and what it is that sets it apart from other towns and villages.