tipp tourism boost
A Tipperary native involved in staging a major international sports tourism conference in May has said that the Premier County has a glorious opportunity to grab a slice of what is the fastest growing sector in the global travel industry.
Thurles man Mark O’Connell says that between the county’s natural and developed infrastructure, Tipperary is an ideal location to develop major mass participation events, from running, hill-walking and cycling events to golf tournaments and major horse and greyhound racing festivals.
However, Tipperary, he said, has an additional edge by virtue of its sporting heritage, particularly the birthplace of the GAA and the potential from this to drive a specific and lucrative tourism product.
O’Connell is a co-founder with rugby legend Keith Wood of W2 Consulting , which will this May stage the European Sport Tourism Summit in Limerick, a one day conference that will focus on how cities, counties, regions and even countries can develop major sports tourism events or perhaps attract significant international sports events to their community. The event will also deliver recommendations that will be presented to Government regarding how Ireland can increase its share of the fastest growing sector in the global travel industry, worth €450billion annually.
The event – see www. sporttourismsummit.ie - will be attended by over 400 delegates drawn from local authorities, sports bodies, federations, clubs, charity organisations and communities here and abroad, all eager to attract global sports events and tournaments or develop their own major sports tourism product around mass participation events.
Said O’Connell: “Tipperary has huge potential, for a variety of reasons, to develop major sports participation events. For one, ‘Tipperary’ itself is a very strong brand and resonates with people not just across the country but well beyond. Put that together with our sporting heritage in the county, which is almost unrivalled in a national sense and probably our greatest strength, and you have a ready-made product that just needs to be packaged and marketed.