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Progress Report Presentation by James Stone Director, Midland Regional Authority International Working Group Meeting, Portugal, September, 2006. Deliverable as per Application: Establishment of Regional Working Group Membership of Regional Working Group. Offaly Leader +

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Progress Report Presentation by James Stone Director, Midland Regional Authority

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Progress report presentation by james stone director midland regional authority

Progress Report

Presentation

by

James Stone

Director, Midland Regional Authority

International Working Group Meeting,

Portugal, September, 2006


Progress report presentation by james stone director midland regional authority

Deliverable as per Application: Establishment of Regional Working Group

Membership of Regional Working Group

  • Offaly Leader +

  • Longford Community Resources Limited

  • Westmeath Community Resources Limited

  • East Coast & Midlands Tourism

  • Tullamore Dew Heritage Centre

  • 15. Shannon Development

  • Midland Regional Authority

  • Laois County Council

  • Longford County Council

  • Westmeath County Council

  • Waterways Ireland

  • The Inland Waterways Association of Ireland

  • Shannon Regional Fisheries Board

  • Southern Regional Fisheries Board

  • Laois Leader Rural Development Company


Progress report presentation by james stone director midland regional authority

  • 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 21st 2004

  • Second Meeting - December 8th, 2004

  • Third Meeting - January 18th, 2005

  • Fourth Meeting - March 8th, 2005

  • Fifth Meeting - April 21st, 2005

  • Sixth Meeting - September 26th, 2005

  • Seventh Meeting - November 23rd, 2005

  • Eight Meeting - April 21st, 2006

  • Ninth Meeting - June 7th, 2006

  • Tenth Meeting - September 8th, 2006


Progress report presentation by james stone director midland regional authority

Deliverable as per Application: 5 Meetings of the International Working Group

The Midland Regional Authority, participated in the following IWG meetings:

First Meeting: November 2nd – 5th, 2004, Greifswald, Germany

Second Meeting: May, 18th - 20th, 2005, Athlone, Co. Westmeath, Ireland

Third Meeting: September, 27th – 30th, 2005, Pecs, Hungary

Fourth Meeting: June, 13th- 16th, 2006, Lahti, Finland

Fifth Meeting: September 12th-15th, 2006, Sesimbra, Portugal


Progress report presentation by james stone director midland regional authority

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


Progress report presentation by james stone director midland regional authority

Deliverable as per Application: 2 International Conferences with Project Partners, Experts and Regional Stakeholders

Second Conference – Interregional and Regional Marketing of European Watertourism RegionsLahti, Finland, June 2006

  • Organisation of logistics for members of RWG to attend conference

  • 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

  • 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”


Progress report presentation by james stone director midland regional authority

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


  • Progress report presentation by james stone director midland regional authority

    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, interpretivemaintenance

    • Safety and security on the waterways


    Progress report presentation by james stone director midland regional authority

    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 alarger proportion of users, namely: walking, private boating, angling andhire 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 notactually 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 deliberaterouting to placed of interest including, adjacent villages, heritage sites and placed ofscenic 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 pertainingto the same.


    Progress report presentation by james stone director midland regional authority

    Deliverable as per Application:    1 analysing report preparing concrete points of activities

    • The family marketis currently inadequately catered for and thus this market is not beingattracted 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 includetransfers

    • 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 manyoverseas visitors appear to stay a second week in Ireland and travel independently.


    Progress report presentation by james stone director midland regional authority

    Deliverable as per Application:    1 analysing report preparing concrete points of activities

    Guidelines for the provision and operation of services in the region

    Structures

    There is a strong need for a cohesive integrated structure for management andmaintenance 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 tolocal users and visitors. This body should work closely with the planning anddevelopment body.

    Planning and development guidelines

    Clear guidelines on the built environment e.g. housing development and relatedrestrictions need to be developed in relation to their impact on Midlands Waterways.Locals and regular users should be consulted on an planned developments along thewaterways.


    Progress report presentation by james stone director midland regional authority

    Deliverable as per Application:    1 analysing report preparing concrete points of activities

    Guidelines for the provision and operation of services in the region

    Training

    It is recommended that more information and training for local communities and localauthority staff around the waterways would assist in the development of a “sense ofplace” which would enable local communities to act as regional ambassadors promotingregional assets, activities and services

    Product Development

    Further development of walking trails, tow paths etc is required. Walking and cycleroutes should be developed, in conjunction with the Irish Sports Council who have clearguidelines for route planning and usage. Developments should adhere to theCountryside Code for walkers as developed by the National Waymarked WaysCommittee in conjunction with the IFA. Ensure all developments take into accountenvironmental impacts and areas of conservation and access and permission.Countryside access and activities


    Progress report presentation by james stone director midland regional authority

    Deliverable as per Application:    1 analysing report preparing concrete points of activities

    • Environmental Management

    • Maintenance of water quality should be in line with the EU Water FrameworkDirective

    • Anti-pollution legislation in the waterway and limitations to restrict activities in thesame areas should be developed – eg. Fishing and jet-skiing/speed boats, andrestrict areas where activities are damaging the natural environment.

    • Access

    • Provision of public transport and distribution of visitors to and around the waterways isimportant 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.


    Progress report presentation by james stone director midland regional authority

    Deliverable as per Application:    1 analysing report preparing concrete points of activities

    • Safety

    • A safety officer should be recruited on the waterways to ensure all users haveconducted 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 andclearly sign-posted.

    • A ‘Code of the Waterways’ should be developed and marketed and the relevantstatutory bodies to ensure it is adhered to.

    • Legislation needs to be put in place to control hiring the boats, to ensure there issome 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 toguarantee quality of the guided tours andsafety.

    • Safety statements, risk assessments and emergency plans to be developed andmonitored.

    • Irish Water Safety Guidelines – www.iws.ie – should be adhered to


    Progress report presentation by james stone director midland regional authority

    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.


    Progress report presentation by james stone director midland regional authority

    Deliverable as per Application: 1 manual including criteria catalogue for SMEs and municipalities

    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


    Progress report presentation by james stone director midland regional authority

    Deliverable as per Application: 1 manual including criteria catalogue for SMEs and municipalities

    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.


    Progress report presentation by james stone director midland regional authority

    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


    Progress report presentation by james stone director midland regional authority

    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.


    Progress report presentation by james stone director midland regional authority

    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.


    Progress report presentation by james stone director midland regional authority

    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


    Progress report presentation by james stone director midland regional authority

    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


    Progress report presentation by james stone director midland regional authority

    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


    Progress report presentation by james stone director midland regional authority

    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


    Progress report presentation by james stone director midland regional authority

    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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