Into Kildare AGM and Tourism Networking event huge success – Chair of Fáilte Ireland Paul Carty Keynote Speaker
Paul Carty, Chairman of Failte Ireland (the National tourism Development Authority) was the keynote speaker at the IntoKildare AGM and networking event which was held at Newbridge Silverware on Tuesday (25th of October). Over 65 different hospitality businesses from Kildare were represented at the meeting including people from some of the county’s best-known hotels, pubs, restaurants, retail experiences, racecourses and visitor attractions. The mayor of Kildare, Cllr. Fintan Brett, was also in attendance at the Kildare tourism meeting as were representatives of Kildare County Council, several county councillors, travel writer Eoghan Corry and Derek Dolan of Fáilte Ireland and Ireland’s Ancient East.
Áine Mangan, CEO of IntoKildare, the tourism board for County Kildare said, “We are really honoured that Paul Carty agreed to be our keynote speaker and took the time to attend and support tourism stakeholders in County Kildare and the work of IntoKildare. For almost 20 years, he held the role of Managing Director at the Guinness Storehouse, Ireland’s most popular paid visitor attraction and one of the world’s leading brand experiences, until his retirement in 2020. Under Paul’s leadership, visitor numbers at the Guinness Storehouse increased six-fold from under 300,000 to almost 1.8 million in 2019. He also spent many years working abroad before his tenure at The Guinness Storehouse, holding senior positions with the Forte Group and Le Meridien in Dublin, London, Bahrain, Singapore, and Saudi Arabia.”
The meeting began with a welcome address from Newbridge Silverware, CEO William Doyle who said he was delighted to have so many representatives of the tourism industry gather in the Museum of Style Icons at Newbridge Silverware. He added that the IntoKildare AGM provided a great opportunity for the Museum of Style Icons to be shown as a venue which can now be hired for private meetings and events. Newbridge Silverware attracts some 350,000 visitors to its showroom, Factory Tour and Museum of Style Icons and is one of the most important tourism and retail attractions in the county.
The Chairperson of Into Kildare, David Mongey of Mongey Communications then spoke, and the official business of the AGM got underway. Firstly, Áine Mangan gave a detailed presentation on the activities of IntoKildare and detailed the work that had taken place in collaboration with the tourism and hospitality sector state agencies and community groups during the last 12 months. Next, Paul Carty took to the floor and made a fascinating presentation on how best to harness the potential of Kildare tourism and spoke about ways to make the visitor experience even more enriched.
In his presentation, Paul spoke about how Fáilte Ireland can support the tourism industry in County Kildare through dedicated mentorship and training programmes and talked about the various supports available. He also said that Kildare tourism and hospitality providers should think about their own brand and how best to create a memorable experience for guests. He then spoke about his experience at Guinness and how the brand has various pillars that resonated with the public such as fun, power, heart, and goodness and explained to the delegates that they too need to think about what their brand says about them. “Ultimately,” he said, “all of us here in hospitality and tourism are in the ‘entertainment’ business, we need to make memories for people so they will talk about us, tell their friends about us, and visit us, time and time again.”
The Mayor of County Kildare, An Cathaoirleach, Cllr. Fintan Brett commended the great work that has been achieved and carried out by Áine Mangan and her team at IntoKildare and noted that the tourism and hospitality industry in Kildare supported some 9,000 jobs. He went on to say that Kildare County Council recognise the importance of tourism and hospitality in the county and noted that there were many great experiences for visitors to enjoy when visiting County Kildare.
His comments were echoed by Annette Aspell, Deputy CE of County Kildare who concurred that there are many interesting tourism attractions all around the county and particularly noted the Shackleton Experience in Athy which she said, has great potential. She also spoke about the importance of the forthcoming St. Brigid’s festival, Brigid 1,500 which is coming up in 2023, and which, she said will be very exciting and will drive a lot of tourism business to the county.
Both Annette Aspell and Cllr. Brett said that Kildare County Council appreciate and support the work that IntoKildare, the tourism body for the county has been doing and pledged their continued support for the years ahead.
After the speeches were finished, the delegates went downstairs to the restaurant at Newbridge Silverware, to ‘Domo’s Emporium’ where they enjoyed an elegant lunch which was generously sponsored by Newbridge Silverware.