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Progress Report Presentation by James Stone Director, Midland Regional Authority International Working Group Meeting, Portugal, September, 2006.

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Presentation on theme: "Progress Report Presentation by James Stone Director, Midland Regional Authority International Working Group Meeting, Portugal, September, 2006."— Presentation transcript:

1 Progress Report Presentation by James Stone Director, Midland Regional Authority International Working Group Meeting, Portugal, September, 2006

2 Deliverable as per Application: Establishment of Regional Working Group Membership of Regional Working Group 1.Midland Regional Authority 2.Laois County Council 3.Longford County Council 4.Westmeath County Council 5.Waterways Ireland 6.The Inland Waterways Association of Ireland 7.Shannon Regional Fisheries Board 8.Southern Regional Fisheries Board 9.Laois Leader Rural Development Company 10.Offaly Leader + 11.Longford Community Resources Limited 12.Westmeath Community Resources Limited 13.East Coast & Midlands Tourism 14.Tullamore Dew Heritage Centre 15. Shannon Development

3 Deliverable as per Application: 10 Meetings of the Regional Working Group Dates of Regional Working Group Meetings –Agenda & Minutes available upon request Inaugural Meeting - Thursday, October 21 st 2004 Second Meeting - December 8 th, 2004 Third Meeting - January 18 th, 2005 Fourth Meeting - March 8 th, 2005 Fifth Meeting - April 21 st, 2005 Sixth Meeting - September 26 th, 2005 Seventh Meeting - November 23 rd, 2005 Eight Meeting - April 21 st, 2006 Ninth Meeting - June 7 th, 2006 Tenth Meeting - September 8 th, 2006

4 Deliverable as per Application: 5 Meetings of the International Working Group The Midland Regional Authority, participated in the following IWG meetings: First Meeting: November 2 nd – 5 th, 2004, Greifswald, Germany Second Meeting: May, 18th - 20th, 2005, Athlone, Co. Westmeath, Ireland Third Meeting: September, 27 th – 30 th, 2005, Pecs, Hungary Fourth Meeting: June, 13 th - 16 th, 2006, Lahti, Finland Fifth Meeting: September 12 th -15 th, 2006, Sesimbra, Portugal

5 Deliverable as per Application: 2 International Conferences with Project Partners, Experts and Regional Stakeholders First Conference: “Improvement of Competitiveness of SMEs and Watertourism Region by Innovative Strategies and Technologies” Athlone, Co. Westmeath, Ireland Organisation of venue and accommodation reservations for all participants Preparation and organisation of study tour for participants – regional site visit Organisation of Speaker from Waterways Ireland – Mr. John McKeown - Restoring the Royal Canal Organisation of art work for the conference backdrop which was adopted by all project partners as the project brand Organisation of International Working Group Meeting following conference Cllr. James Daly, Cathaoirleach of the Midland Regional Authority opening the conference

6 Second Conference – Interregional and Regional Marketing of European Watertourism Regions Lahti, Finland, June 2006 Deliverable as per Application: 2 International Conferences with Project Partners, Experts and Regional Stakeholders Organisation of logistics for members of RWG to attend conference Liaising with Waterways Ireland concerning speaker for conference – Mr. Martin Dennany, Director of Marketing and Communications, Waterways Ireland. Presentation topic: Destination Marketing Waterways Ireland Acting as Moderator and Rappateur for Workshop entitled “Basics for Marketing of Waterway Destinations” Sarah Morgan, Midland Regional Authority Marie Spain, Midland Regional Authority Eamon Cusack, Shannon Regional Fisheries Board Suzanne Campion, Southern Regional Fisheries Board Martin Dennany, Waterways Ireland

7 Deliverable as per Application: 1 analysing report preparing concrete points of activities Case Study of the Midland Region SMEs & Communities Involved in Water Tourism & Related Activities Prepared Terms of Reference in consultation with the RWG Issued Invitation to Tender Tender awarded to The Tourism Company & The Tourism Research Centre, Dublin Institute of Technology. Case Study circulated within the region and nationally on CD. Goals of the Midland Case Study – Key Tasks Current situation of water based tourism activities in the region: status quo, problems, recommendations etc. Provide guidelines for communities and organisations involved in inland water tourism in the Region Show transferability of best practice to our project partner regions

8 Deliverable as per Application: 1 analysing report preparing concrete points of activities Recommendations for the Development of Services As a priority the following waterways facilities need to be developed: Showers, Toilets (availability and quality), Restaurants, Children’s playground facilities and Pump out facilities. Furthermore, it is suggested the following facilities require further development: Public facilities (such as changing rooms), Litter management/rubbish bins, and ongoing maintenance of the same is critical for sustainability Mooring facilities Chandlery Shops Children’s Play Areas Fishing facilities and Access points Designated Swimming areas Return transports to cars Kids summer Camp Improved information points - Additional signage, Directional, welcoming, interpretive maintenance Safety and security on the waterways

9 Deliverable as per Application: 1 analysing report preparing concrete points of activities Recommendations for the Development of Products There is currently an in-ordinate focus on cruising/boating activities and tourists. The region should prioritise developing and accommodating the activities that have a larger proportion of users, namely: walking, private boating, angling and hire cruising. Walking and Cycling: Although cycling is not permitted along un-surfaced lengths of the shoreline for reasons of public liability, many sections of the waterways are bounded by local country roads which can run alongside for many miles. Many of the features of significance and villages within the waterway corridor are not actually on the water itself, an attractive walk or cycle way could be developed, running along the waterway where feasible and close by where not, with deliberate routing to placed of interest including, adjacent villages, heritage sites and placed of scenic interest. Water Based Activities could include:  Kayaking, jet-skiing, waterskiing, angling, sailing and wind-sailing, expansion of hire companies on the canals.  Provision of guided nature tours along the waterways and information pertaining to the same.

10 The family market is currently inadequately catered for and thus this market is not being attracted to the area. Sample product development opportunities include: ·Development of family parks Innovative or weather independent tourist activities i.e. adventure centres; spa Boat Day trips to Organic Farms Family activities that are suitable for all ages, boat trip packages that include transfers Driving routes Could be developed with various areas themed (e.g. craft/gourmet/heritage/nature trails) Equestrian Development of pony trekking by the lakes, rivers and canals. Packaging Developing combination holidays along the waterways – e.g. walking and fishing, cruising and golf, cruising and car hire, walking, cycling and pony/horse treks It is recommended offering a package including cruiser and car hire since many overseas visitors appear to stay a second week in Ireland and travel independently. Deliverable as per Application: 1 analysing report preparing concrete points of activities

11 Guidelines for the provision and operation of services in the region Structures There is a strong need for a cohesive integrated structure for management and maintenance of the Midland Waterways. This should preferably be a state body, possibly an extended remit for Waterways Ireland co-ordinating all stakeholders. There is also need for a dedicated marketing body to promote and market the area to local users and visitors. This body should work closely with the planning and development body. Planning and development guidelines Clear guidelines on the built environment e.g. housing development and related restrictions need to be developed in relation to their impact on Midlands Waterways. Locals and regular users should be consulted on an planned developments along the waterways.

12 Guidelines for the provision and operation of services in the region Training It is recommended that more information and training for local communities and local authority staff around the waterways would assist in the development of a “sense of place” which would enable local communities to act as regional ambassadors promoting regional assets, activities and services Product Development Further development of walking trails, tow paths etc is required. Walking and cycle routes should be developed, in conjunction with the Irish Sports Council who have clear guidelines for route planning and usage. Developments should adhere to the Countryside Code for walkers as developed by the National Waymarked Ways Committee in conjunction with the IFA. Ensure all developments take into account environmental impacts and areas of conservation and access and permission. Countryside access and activities Deliverable as per Application: 1 analysing report preparing concrete points of activities

13 Environmental Management Maintenance of water quality should be in line with the EU Water Framework Directive Anti-pollution legislation in the waterway and limitations to restrict activities in the same areas should be developed – eg. Fishing and jet-skiing/speed boats, and restrict areas where activities are damaging the natural environment. Access Provision of public transport and distribution of visitors to and around the waterways is important to enable local villages and towns benefit. Water taxi/ferry could also be used to distribute visitors The rural transport initiative could include routes for waterways users in peak season Continued regulation, monitoring and maintenance of the following: Driving licences for boats, cruisers and fishing Limitation on grounds of nature protection – speed limits, time limits etc. Public facilities such as toilets, showers, changing areas and pump-out stations. Deliverable as per Application: 1 analysing report preparing concrete points of activities

14 Safety A safety officer should be recruited on the waterways to ensure all users have conducted safety awareness and training programme. Clear standards of navigation on the waterways should be developed. Specific areas for jet-skis, speed boats and swimming should be designated and clearly sign-posted. A ‘Code of the Waterways’ should be developed and marketed and the relevant statutory bodies to ensure it is adhered to. Legislation needs to be put in place to control hiring the boats, to ensure there is some level of training and safety awareness before hiring a boat. Improved instructions to be provided for inexperienced waterway users. A registry of all private tour operators on the waterways should be publicly available, so that standards can be put in place to guarantee quality of the guided tours and safety. Safety statements, risk assessments and emergency plans to be developed and monitored. Irish Water Safety Guidelines – – should be adhered to Deliverable as per Application: 1 analysing report preparing concrete points of activities

15 Deliverable as per Application: 1 manual including criteria catalogue for SMEs and municipalities Transferable of Best Practice Structures – Strong need for a cohesive integrated structure for marketing, management & maintenance of Waterways. Preferably be lead by a state body. This body should work closely with the other planning & development bodies. Planning and Development guidelines - Clear guidelines on the built environment should be developed. Guidelines should take account of the potential impact of development on the waterways. A transparent & open planning process should be in place. Training – Information awareness amongst user, local communities and stakeholders is seen as a priority. The development of a “Sense of place” is a priority. Environmental Management – Waterways should be managed to the highest environmental standard in line with EU Water Framework Directives & anti-pollution legislation. Access - Public access to waterways should be seen as a priority, transport linkages should be put in place to facility easy access. Regulation, Monitoring & Maintenance – Policies should be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure the highest standards are kept and the product is constantly improved.

16 Marketing Recommendations Dedicated information material; maps, things to do & see Dedicated website Improved information distribution to tourist bodies and tour operators Improved use of internet Joint Promotion by all bodies involved Awareness promotion ‘Sense of Place’ Develop linkages with local areas Improve signage Development of product packages Deliverable as per Application: 1 manual including criteria catalogue for SMEs and municipalities

17 Branding Recommendations Brand awareness is key to the success of any product. Branding is providing an image/identity which differentiates the region from competition Brand research would need to include additional in-dept consultation with key stakeholders and review of competitors. Brand should focus on the area’s Unique Selling Points example tranquillity, openness, space, unspoilt, natural environment. One body should manage the brand. Guidelines need to be developed for use of the brand. Deliverable as per Application: 1 manual including criteria catalogue for SMEs and municipalities

18 Deliverable as per Application: 1 brochure, 5 newsletters (project information, news, contacts, dates, ideas, in the partners language, 400 pieces per partner) 1 Brochure Development of a Guide to the Midland Region – containing comphrensive information of things to see and do both on the water and in close proximity to the waterways of the Midland Region Information collated with the assistance of the members of the Regional Working Group Images collated with the assistance of the members of the Regional Working Group Issued call to tender for the design and graphic layout of the Guide Guide prepared initially in electronic format Guide will be placed be made available to the members of the Regional Working Group for use on organisations websites to promote water based and related related activities which are available throughout the region Development of regional map highlighting the waterways of the midland region

19 Deliverable as per Application: 1 brochure, 5 newsletters (project information, news, contacts, dates, ideas, in the partners language, 400 pieces per partner) 5 Newsletters The Midland Regional Authority has acted as copy editor for the English version of the newsletters collated by the lead partner Newsletter 1:Introduction to the Project Partners – Circulated November 2004 Newsletter 2: Best Practice Reports on Water Tourism Infrastructure & Marketing - Circulated June 2005 Newsletter 3:Destination Marketing - Circulated November 2005 Newsletter 4:Preparing a Successful Marketing Campaign – Circulated June 2006 Newsletter 5:Due for circualtion in last quarter of 2006 All newsletters were circualted by electronic mail to the organisations who are members of our Regional Working Group, SMEs, local municipalities, Leader Groups, Partnership Companies and members of the EU Operational Committee of the Midland Regional Authority. Those in receipt of the newsletter circulate it within their own organisations.

20 Deliverable as per Application: 1 exhibition in each region to present the project and its results; communication platform including extranet by using a content management system The MRA will produce a number of exhibition stands for use in the main Tourist Information Office in each of our constituent county towns. This will entail a map of the region, which will be used in conjuction with the Guide to the Midland Region – to promote the water based tourism activities.

21 Summary of Activities Per Component as per Application: Component 1: Management & Co-ordination Expected Outputs International and regional time and activity plans 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007; WORK IN PROGRESS 5 international meetings; COMPLETE organisation and planning of 10 regional meetings; COMPLETE 6 processed and audited final reports; WORK IN PROGRESS 1 final report, organisation and planning of 2 international conferences COMPLETE

22 Summary of Activities Per Component as per Application: Component 2 – Information & Public Relations Expected Outputs: 5 newsletters; WORK IN PROGRESS – 4 COMPLETE 1 exhibition per partner; WORK IN PROGRESS Communication platform, Virtual market and webpages for project presentation; PROJECT WEB PAGE DEVELOPED – MRA WEBSITE CURRENTLY BEING UPDATED 5 international meetings; COMPLETE 10 regional meetings; COMPLETE

23 Summary of Activities Per Component as per Application: Component 3: Setting up interregional & regional co-operations between communities & SMEs & between SMEs Expected Outputs: Co-operation contracts between SMEs - 10 in each region; THE MEMBERS OF THE REGIONAL WORKING GROUP ARE DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE FOR SUPPORTING SMES Amount of SMEs involved in the virtual market - 10 in each region; OUR ELECTRONIC GUIDE TO THE REGION CONTAINS LISTINGS OF MANY SMES THROUGOUT THE REGION 5 international meetings; COMPLETE 10 regional meetings; COMPLETE 1 international conference with ca 50 participants; COMPLETE

24 Summary of Activities Per Component as per Application: Component 4: Strategies for Developing a Target Group Orientated and Quality Orientated Infrastructure and Target Group Orientated Products in Watertourism Expected Outputs: 1 manual in five languages; checklist of quality criteria for SMEs and for communities; COMPLETE – SEE GUIDELINES IN CASE STUDY PREPARED FOR THE MIDLAND REGION signposting system in all partner regions except Hungary; WORK IN PROGRESS - AS WATERWAYS IRELAND ARE DEVELOPING EXTENSIVE SIGNPOSTING SYSTEM ON THE WATERWAYS THE RWG DECIDED MORE BENEFICIAL TO PRODUCE BANNER MAPS FOR TO ACCOMPANY THE GUIDE TO THE MIDLAND REGION – THIS CHANGE WAS APPROVED BY THE SECRETARIAT 5 international meetings; COMPLETE 10 regional meetings; COMPLETE

25 Summary of Activities Per Component as per Application: Component 5: Developing tools and methods to market the regions within their regional tourism market as well as on the European market Expected Outputs: 1 international conference with ca 50 participants; COMPLETE 1 virtual marketplace; COMPLETE 5 international meetings; COMPLETE 10 regional meetings; COMPLETE


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