• Cyril McAree

AVEA Is The Newly Formed Association of Visitor Experiences and Attractions.

The Association launched in May and Paul Carty, Guinness Storehouse Managing Director has been appointed Chairman. Paul Carty, hosted the launch of AVEA at The National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks, where leaders of the sector were joined by other tourism industry representatives, associations and tourism agencies to launch the organisation.

The AVEA launch marks the first time that the sector will be brought together and recognised as a voice within the tourism industry. AVEA will provide a forum for the exchange of knowledge, information and advice between members as well as offering external support systems and professional insight into the delivery of best practice in customer care, interpretation and service standards.

AVEA’s board is comprised of some of the best-known individuals from visitor attractions and experiences from around the country including Ann Daly (Head of Marketing, the National Museum of Ireland), Michael Counahan (Managing Director, CHL Consulting), Seán Connick (Chief Executive, John F Kennedy Trust, New Ross), Denise Brophy (Managing Director, Dublinia), Anne-Marie Diffley (Visitor Services Manager, Trinity College), Biddy Hughes (Sales and Marketing Director, Westport House), Pat Ó Súilleabháin (Managing Director, National Sea Life Centre, Bray) and John Ruddle (Chief Executive, Shannon Heritage). Speaking about the launch of AVEA, Chairman Paul Carty said; “AVEA has long been an ambition of mine and indeed shared by many others, to have this sector of the industry come together under one umbrella with a unified voice in the tourism industry. Visitor Attractions and Experiences are key drivers of the business of tourism in Ireland - we are a huge part of what motivates overseas visitors to come to Ireland. Attractions and experiences tell the stories of Ireland through the ages and we are blessed with some of the most spectacular sites around the country. What we add to the overall destination experiences are holiday memories that endure a lifetime and, when shared, encourage even more visitors to come to this great Island year after year.”

Membership is open to a variety of Visitor Attractions and Experiences including gardens, leisure and entertainment visits, museums, galleries, historic buildings and estates, monastic sites, cathedrals, churches, farm visits, themed trails, guided boat trips, evening entertainment and theatres. Paul Keeley, Director Business Development at Fáilte Ireland welcomed the establishment of AVEA saying that Fáilte Ireland is very pleased to support this initiative in terms of advice and funding. A compelling portfolio of attractions is crucial to tourism and having a representative group dedicated to greater professionalism and the further development of the sector will enable us to raise our game in terms of the visitor experience. Fáilte Ireland looks forward to working hand in glove with the Association of Visitor Experiences and Attractions to secure the continued growth in tourism which will be vital for generating revenue and jobs throughout the country.”

Membership is open to all Visitor Attractions and Experiences including Gardens, Leisure & Entertainment Visits, Museums, Galleries, Historic Buildings & Estates, Monastic Sites, Cathedrals/Churches, Farm Visits, Themed Trails (guided), Boat Trips, Evening Entertainment & Theatres. Further information on AVEA is available from www.avea.ie

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