• Cyril McAree

AVEA Hosts It's First Forum Meeting To Unify The Voice Of The Sector

Yesterday marked the first time that Ireland’s visitor experiences and attractions from all over the country came together to unify the voice of the sector.AVEA - the new national representative Association for the Visitor Experiences and Attractions sector in Ireland - held its inaugural forum in Kilkenny Castle with over 60 members present.

Launched in May of this year, AVEA provides 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.

Paul Carty, Guinness Storehouse Managing Director and Chairman of AVEA, opened the Forum by welcoming and congratulating members for making the Association a reality; “AVEA only exists because of and for its members. Your commitment and belief in what can be achieved for and by our sector coming together under the umbrella of AVEA is a testament to the importance of our businesses in tourism. Visitor Experiences and Attractions are key drivers for business tourism in Ireland – we are a huge part of what motivates overseas visitors to come to Ireland.”

The meeting marks the first time that the sector has come together to engage on matters that impact on performance and explore how AVEA can deliver on its core objectives. John Ruddle, New Business Development Director, Shannon Heritage and board member of AVEA said; “This meeting is about listening and hearing from our members as to how we can support them. It’s also about members meeting each other in a setting that encourages collaboration and good engagement, where people are meeting likeminded businesses and sharing knowledge and expertise – it’s a very positive experience and one we intend to repeat regularly.”

Attending the event, Paul Keeley, Director Business Development at Fáilte Ireland welcomed the establishment of AVEA saying that; “Fáilte Ireland is very pleased to support AVEA with 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.”

With Kilkenny providing the location for the inaugural meeting, Colette Byrne, Chief Executive, Kilkenny County Council & Chairman of Kilkenny Civic Trust said; “AVEA already has 3 members from Kilkenny, The Smithwicks Experience, Kilkenny Castle & Medieval Mile Museum. Tourism is very important to Kilkenny city and county, and our rich tapestry of build and natural heritage are pivotal to motivating visitors to come here. We have and will continue to invest and support tourism as a key component of our local economy.”

Concluding the inaugural forum, Paul Carty noted that; “Experiences and attractions tell 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.”

AVEA 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.


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