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13/07/2017 Donegal Tourism anchored at SeaFest 2017

DL Tourism Galway Seafest

Iga Lawne, Donegal Tourism, Mary Daly, Donegal Co. Council and Joy Harron Donegal Tourism promoting Donegal at the Seafest in Galway


Donegal Tourism was well positioned to promote County Donegal in the heart of Galway City at the harbour during the massively popular SeaFest 2017 maritime event from June 30th to July 2nd 2017. There was a great deal of interest in Donegal from both domestic and international visitors who attended SeaFest 2017. This was the second year that Donegal Tourism attended the event having realised the great potential to reach target audiences at SeaFest 2016.


Ireland’s national maritime festival SeaFest attracted an incredible 101,113 visitors to Galway Harbour during the three day event. The figures, just released by SeaFest, have shown a phenomenal 68% growth in attendance in just one year. Last year SeaFest saw 60,000 visitors attend the festival, and in 2015, its inaugural year, it netted 10,000 visitors.


Galway Harbour was transformed into a giant interactive ‘sea world’ for the three day festival and the waterfront was awash with non-stop activities and entertainment for those of all ages. Free sailing and kayaking was on offer and the Irish Sailing Association also offered disabled access for budding sailors over the weekend. There were open tours available on a number of vessels in the ship filled harbour including the tall ship The Phoenix, the Irish naval vessel LÉ Ciara, the Commissioners of Irish Lights Granuaile and the Marine Institute’s research vessel the RV Celtic Explorer.


The huge display from the Defence Forces was popular with the young and young at heart. BIM and Bord Bia’s Seafood Experience featured live cookery and fishmongery demonstrations, as well as interactive exhibits and displays of live fish and shellfish species. Marine-inspired entrepreneurs based in the West of Ireland shared their stories in the Marquee.


Donegal Tourism in association with Donegal County Council maximised the potential to raise awareness of the Donegal brand, Go Visit Donegal with a branded marquee positioned in a key focal point at Galway Harbour where marketing staff were on hand to distribute Donegal brochures and maps at the event.


Donegal Tourism ran a competition to win a trip to Donegal that received over 1000 entries. Donegal Tourism wish to thank Paul Diver at the Sandhouse Hotel and Spa who offered a complimentary 2 night stay with evening meal and also Eddie Marshall from Donegal Bay Waterbus who offered a complimentary cruise on the Donegal Bay Waterbus as part of this attractive prize.


Joy Harron, Marine Tourism Marketing & Development Officer with Donegal Tourism said that “too many visitors arrive in Dublin with plans to travel to the South of Ireland only. Donegal Tourism wanted to showcase all that Donegal has to offer and to say that next time; visitors need to travel to the North West and experience Donegal, the Coolest Place on the Planet. SeaFest 2017 was the perfect place to capture this audience of both domestic and international visitors”. Donegal Tourism carries out a variety of online and offline marketing activities in support of Fáilte Ireland campaigns to draw visitors North West on the Wild Atlantic Way.


SeaFest 2017 incorporated a series of marine-related business and research events, the Annual Our Ocean Wealth Summit, as well as the maritime festival which took place over the weekend. Figures released by SEMRU at Our Ocean Wealth Summit, held as part of SeaFest on Friday 30 June, show that Ireland’s ‘blue economy’ is performing better than the general economy. The figures indicate that the direct economic value of Ireland’s ocean economy was €1.8 billion or approximately 0.9% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016, which represents a 20% increase on 2014 levels. Donegal has great potential to develop its blue economy with over 1134 km of the longest mainland coastline in Ireland, with beautiful and rugged seascapes on the Wild Atlantic Way. Coastal communities in Donegal are working together with local authorities, tourism bodies and other organisations and businesses to develop all aspects of the blue economy in particular the many opportunities presented by the marine tourism sector and this collaborative approach will help deliver positive results and future successes in Donegal.

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