Minister John Paul Phelan takes a turn at glass blowing with Rory Leadbetter of Jerpoint Glass on right
Fáilte Ireland has unveiled a bespoke toolkit to equip and train craft businesses across Ireland’s Ancient East with the skills to maximise the potential of craft tourism to generate increased revenue and support local jobs.
Kilkenny's John Paul Phelan T.D., Minister of State for Local Government and Electoral Reform, officially launched the Fáilte Ireland toolkit at Kilkenny’s Jerpoint Glass – a business which is already reaping the benefits of providing a visitor experience to international tourists.
With a growing tourism trend for seeking out authentic experiences rooted in history and local culture, Fáilte Ireland has identified craft as a major sector with potential to drive increased visitor numbers and revenue to the Ireland’s Ancient East region. Perhaps the greatest attraction of craft tourism is that it offers a sensory experience which can’t be achieved by simply viewing a finished product.
The National Tourism Development Authority’s research has found that one in three potential holidaymakers from Ireland’s four key international markets (Britain, US, Germany and France) want to experience traditional craft-making in an authentic studio setting.
The toolkit focuses on developing world-class craft tourism experiences in Ireland. It takes businesses and creators through the elements of a craft experience which ensures they become more attractive to tourists. It also provides bespoke insights into the profiles and motivators of core overseas markets, emerging trends and how to effectively target new business.
Minister of State John Paul Phelan, said:“I’m delighted that the first-ever tourism toolkit for craft businesses is being launched here in Kilkenny. As home to a rich array of quality craft businesses, Kilkenny is already making waves in the craft tourism sector and it has proven to be a fantastic draw for international visitors. Ireland’s Ancient East is really making a positive impact on tourism and craft businesses in Kilkenny and across the whole region, and initiatives like this are vital in helping to generate increased revenue and jobs.”
Jenny De Saulles, Head of Ireland’s Ancient East at Fáilte Ireland, added:“We know that our core overseas markets actively look for compelling visitor experiences which are interactive, hands-on and bring local heritage to life. This is something that is central to the Ireland’s Ancient East brand, and our focus at Fáilte Ireland is on developing brilliant visitor experiences which have the potential to drive increased visitor numbers and revenue across the region.
“We believe that the craft sector, from single artisans to larger businesses, can help us to achieve this by providing world-class experiences which are intrinsic with local culture. That’s why we are delivering a full programme of work – from the toolkit we’ve launched today to workshops and mentoring as well as a range of business supports - specially designed for craftspeople to inspire and enable them to tap into tourism and the benefits it brings for businesses and communities alike.”
Rory Leadbetter, Master Glassblower and Director of Jerpoint Glass Studio, said “As Jerpoint Glass celebrates its 40th anniversary, it is very exciting to open a new chapter with the support, insights and mentoring offered by Fáilte Ireland’s Toolkit programme. The programme has helped us to create exciting new tours and visitor experiences, which will not only benefit our business, but also have a very positive impact on local tourism. We commend Fáilte Ireland on recognising that indigenous craft is such a unique and integral part of Irish culture and on delivering an excellent programme to develop Ireland’s craft offering. We are thrilled to welcome Minister John Paul Phelan and Fáilte Ireland to Jerpoint Glass today.”
The toolkit is available to businesses in Ireland’s Ancient East and can also be used by craftspeople across the country. The new craft toolkit can be viewed HERE