The Into Kildare AGM and networking event was held this week at the newly refurbished meeting rooms at Killashee Hotel in Naas. Nearly 80 different hospitality businesses from Kildare were represented at the meeting including people from some of the county’s best-known hotels, pubs, restaurants, retail and cultural experiences, racecourses, and visitor attractions. The mayor of Kildare, Cllr. Daragh Fitzpatrick was also in attendance as were several councillors and representatives of Kildare County Council. Sam Johnston, Manager of the Dublin Convention Bureau and leading travel commentator, Eoghan Corry addressed the group and gave some interesting insights into the travel and trade trends for 2024.
The Chairman of Into Kildare, David Mongey of Mongey Communications opened the meeting and spoke about the importance of 2024 for County Kildare and ‘Brigid 1500’ which will celebrate the life and legacy of St. Brigid of Kildare. “2024 marks the 1500th year of the passing of Saint Brigid, the patron Saint of Kildare. Brigid 1500 will see a whole series of celebrations and events taking place at home and abroad while this year was the first time that Ireland celebrated the new public holiday in the saint’s name. We anticipate that Brigid 1500 will attract thousands of new visitors to the county who will take part in many of the joyous historical, cultural, and spiritual celebrations which are scheduled to take place.”
Áine Mangan, CEO of Into Kildare gave a detailed presentation on the activities of the County Kildare tourism body and highlighted the work that had taken place in collaboration with the tourism and hospitality sector state agencies and community groups during the last 12 months. She said that 2023 was extremely busy for Into Kildare who facilitated and led several international trade missions in markets which were clearly identified by Fáilte Ireland, Kildare County Council and the Into Kildare members. “Our role is to promote tourism and support hospitality providers and tourism attractions in the county. We are part of Ireland’s Ancient East, a region rich in cultural and historical attractions and we are lucky to have countless areas of natural beauty including our extensive green and blue ways. In partnership with Kildare County Council, we work with over 100 tourism and hospitality businesses across all sectors of the industry and are working hard to ensure County Kildare is a ’must visit’ tourism destination”.
Leading Irish travel commentator and proud Kildare native, Eoghan Corry said, “We must continue to support the great work of Into Kildare to ensure that Kildare is a ‘go to’ not ‘go through destination’. He went on to say that that County Kildare has much to offer international visitors due to its many great visitor attractions, easy access, and proximity to Dublin Airport. “Dublin Airport is one of only 9 European airports which are seeing inbound numbers back to pre-pandemic numbers. There was a huge increase in the number of American visitors and the US visitors to Ireland ‘saved the summer’. He went on to say that despite ‘sustainability’ being a buzz word in travel, the research clearly showed that international travellers still choose their holiday destination based on value for money, price, and experience. “Ultimately, Kildare has much to offer to the international visitor, but we need more hotel bedrooms to house the ever-increasing demand.”
Sam Johnston, Manager of the Dublin Convention Bureau said that he was very happy to have partnered with Into Kildare on various sales and trade missions in the US and the UK in 2023 and was looking forward to partnering again next year.
The Mayor of County Kildare, An Cathaoirleach, Daragh Fitzpatrick commended the great work that has been achieved and carried out by Áine Mangan and her team at Into Kildare 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. He acknowledged the work that Into Kildare, has been doing and pledged the council’s continued support for the years ahead.
After the speeches were finished, the delegates enjoyed lunch hosted by the Killashee Hotel General Manager, Ger Alley and his team in the Great Hall in Killashee Hotel. www.intokildare.ie