Trim is in the running to be crowned Ireland’s top tourist town after being included in Fáilte Ireland’s shortlist for the 2014 Tourism Town Awards in the large town category.
The competition, now in its third year, is designed to recognise Irish towns and villages where the local community goes the extra mile to enhance their appeal to tourists. The selected towns will now be subject over the next few weeks to a series of unannounced inspections from a crack team of independent ‘secret shoppers’ who will visit each location and assess the quality of visitor experience to be had.
Kilkenny took home the overall crown in 2013; however, 2014 will see a change to the format of the competition with titles awarded to Best Large Town and Best Small Town.
The top 10 ‘Highly Commended Tourism Towns’ will be announced at the National Tidy Towns Awards later in year with the overall winners, Best Large and Best Small Towns, to be announced by Fáilte Ireland in November.
Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring said: “This award is all about recognising Irish towns and villages which are working hard to make Ireland even more attractive for tourists. This important work brings benefits to local communities and local economies across Ireland.”
Trim faces stiff competition in the large town category from Ennis, Cobh, Killarney, Kilkenny and Westport. Small towns that have made the shortlist include Glengarriff, Kinsale, Rosscarbery in Cork, Portmagee, Co Kerry; Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim; Blackrock, Co Louth; Beal an Mhuirthead, Co Mayo, and Ardmore and Lismore in Waterford.
The 15 towns will now be visited by a team of assessors who will look at how each town presents itself to visitors and tells its story. In particular, they will look for evidence of a high-quality visitor experience and of involvement by the local community and businesses in delivering this experience.
They will look at the quality of its attractions and sites of interest and how well the town promotes what it has to offer.