Over 30 million Americans claim Irish heritage, and the annual St Patrick’s Day celebrations provide an ideal opportunity to showcase Sligo’s many attractions to an American audience.
Showcasing Sligo on St Patrick’s Day
Sligo County Council accepted an invitation from the County Sligo Social & Benevolent Association to visit New York for St Patrick’s Day. In addition to meeting the Sligo Association executive, the busy itinerary included meetings with IDA, Tourism Ireland and Enterprise Ireland. A meeting was also held with Pear River Council and Chamber of Commerce to explore the merits of establishing a twinning association with the town, which has a strong Sligo population.
According to the Cathaoirleach Councillor Paul Taylor
‘There were a number of important strands to this visit; For the volunteers in the Sligo Association in New York, the annual engagement represents an important civic link with their home county. Our series of meetings with the IDA, Enterprise Ireland and Tourism Ireland focused on our county’s ongoing campaign to promote Sligo as the optimum location in which to live in, invest or visit. It is imperative that we promote our outstanding tourist offering at every opportunity. In 2019, Ireland welcomed 1.7 million visitors from America, generating €1.6 billion in revenue; I believe we can play a major role in attracting increased numbers to County Sligo from this key tourist market.’
(Left-Right) Councillor Paul Taylor, Cathaoirleach, Sligo County Council; Deirdre O’Brien, Advertising and Consumer Engagement Manager, Tourism Ireland; Martin Lydon, Chief executive, Sligo County Council; Ashling Scanlon, Advertising and Consumer Engagement Executive, Tourism Ireland
High Quality jobs
The meeting with the IDA focused on the 31ha site in Oakfield and the potential it offers to companies as well how the new County Development Plan will bring an increased focus in delivering new housing throughout the county to meet future demands.
The meeting with Enterprise Ireland allowed the Council to demonstrate how the county is an appropriate place to relocate, with new working hubs coming on line and a positive attitude to entrepreneurship all within a place offering an unequalled quality of life, which is now an important factor in attracting high quality jobs to Sligo.
The Wild Atlantic Way is synonymous with our tourism market, and in their discussions with Tourism Ireland, the Cathaoirleach and Chief Executive highlighted the importance of marketing campaigns pushing the North West in the American market as part of the product offering. Discussions took place around golfing holidays, especially concerning golf links courses and showcasing the county as the Adventure Tourism Capital of Ireland due its unrivalled surfing facilities as well the National Biking Centre and numerous walks/trails”.
The Chief Executive Martin Lydon said
‘There has been an unprecedented level of investment in County Sligo in recent years, with a range of important projects being delivered alongside our local communities which will benefit every area of our county. I am encouraged by our meetings with the key agencies in New York.
They share our commitment to securing Sligo’s status as a centre of economic growth, they will work with us to achieve this objective, and to assist us in attracting to sustainable jobs and investment to this county and region.’
Discussion on Twinning
Chair of Sligo County Council’s Twinning Committee Councillor Rosaleen O’Grady said
‘We had a very positive and productive meeting with Pearl River Council and Chamber of Commerce. Their town is just outside New York with a sizeable and active Sligo community.
Our meeting outlined the many benefits that would derive to our respective areas from this association, particularly in the area of tourism. We agreed an outline plan to progress this initiative over the coming months, with the ultimate aim of signing a formal twinning agreement.’