THE results of an audit into a proposed new signage programme for the Lough Derg area will be announced at two public meetings in Portumna and Killaloe/Ballina on Monday, November 5.
The audit, which has been carried out by consultants URS Ireland on behalf of Lough Derg Marketing Strategy Group (LDMSG), focuses on the need for and benefits of tourism signage, including orientation, interpretive and information boards in the Lough Derg area.
Joe MacGrath, LDMSG chairman and North Tipperary county manager, said the upcoming meetings will enable the public as well as community and tourism groups throughout Galway, Clare and Tipperary to give their opinion on the draft strategy.
Mr MacGrath added that the development of a signage strategy will pave the way for a comprehensive marketing of the area’s principal tourist attractions and towns and villages.
He explained: “The Lough Derg area, which incorporates parts of Galway, Clare and Tipperary, is regarded as one of Ireland’s most valuable tourism assets. Lough Derg is home to an extensive network of looped walks, driving routes, long-distance way marked ways, linear walks and heritage trails. The lake is also a popular destination for anglers, boating, watersports enthusiasts and families. In light of the current economic climate, therefore, it is imperative that every effort is made to enhance visitor access to the lake and awareness of all that the Lough Derg area has to offer and to promote the lake as an entry point to explore the River Shannon.”
The preparation of the Lough Derg Signage Strategy comes less than six months after the LDMSG launched a smartphone application that uses GPS technology and Google Maps to guide tourists and outdoor enthusiasts around the trails and walks.
Mr McGrath continued: “The Lough Derg Marketing Strategy Group was established to develop the Lough Derg area as a key destination for water-based activities combined with a range of other products. The group is achieving this through joint co-operation of all tourism stakeholders in the development and marketing of the area under the Lakelands-Lough Derg identity.
The recent launch of the smartphone application and the ongoing development of a Signage Strategy are key to achieving this objective. It is our aim to help visitors to the area to discover all destinations within the wider Lough Derg area,”
Cllr Ger Darcy, cathaoirleach of the Mid-West Regional Authority, encouraged everyone in the region to attend either of the upcoming meetings and to have their say on the future approach to signage provision in the Lough Derg area.
Cllr Darcy stated that the meetings should be of interest to tourism and leisure businesses, accommodation providers, local community and heritage groups, walkers, cyclists, lake users, residents and anyone concerned with the improvement of signage in the Lough Derg Area.
The signage strategy meetings will be held on Monday, November 5, in Portumna Town and Community Hallfrom 5pm to 6.30pm, and in the Lakeside Hotel, Killaloe / Ballina, from 8pm to 9.30pm.