Thursday, 23rd November 2017
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Michael Garland,

bizBoost Chair,

“The heat is on”

No, not the lyrics from that old Glenn Frey karaoke classic, from the mid nineteen eighties.

The Irish weather seems to have finally decided to turn up the thermostat. We are at long last beginning to see what many would constitute as summer! There have been blue skies spotted around the “Sunny South East” and temperatures, are eventually, ever so slowly creeping into the higher teens. This will all be very good news, for the many thousands of people coming to our hills and coastlines over the next number of weeks and months.

There can be no doubt, that the BBC drama series Redwater, a spin off from “Dum, Dum Dum...” Eastenders drama, filmed in and around Dunmore East last year, will attract additional interest in all things Waterfordorian. There are even rumours that one of the stars, Shane Richie aka Alfie Moon, is seeking to purchase a holiday home in the village? This of course might just be some good old fashioned PR, coming from one of our friendly, local auctioneers, to drum up even more interest in that village and what it has to offer? But who cares as long as it works!

Being showcased by both the national broadcasters of Ireland (RTE) and the UK (BBC), is priceless in terms of the exposure we will be given. It is up to the “Powers that be” to be ready to piggyback on this FREE publicity and push our region, as a destination of choice, to our biggest tourism market. This is of course our neighbours across the water, in the UK.

With all matters Brexit and the small issue of a General Election, becoming all consuming across the UK, we urgently need bodies such as Tourism Ireland, to get on board, pushing our region to the British holiday masses. These will be unparalleled levels of FREE, exposure. It may well be that the people of the UK will look West rather than South or East for their holidays in 2017, as the falling out with the rest of the EU continues at a pace.

We ALL need to be ready for a possible influx of UK visitors, looking to explore what Waterford has to offer on the back of this BBC One drama.

Just look at what the series Games of Thrones and Outlander have done to the local economies of these two locations. There has been extraordinary interest, in people exploring the very streets and sets, where their heroes have walked and talked. The power of a national broadcaster filming in a specific identifiable location cannot be underestimated.

It would be great to have the odd Cockney Pearly King and Queen walking around Waterford, being introduced to the rasher Blaa, our local craft beers and even Waterford phrases like “Well Boy”, “Well Girl” and “Would you look at the scut of him!” Can you just imagine the conversation they would have when they returned home to Blighty?

A “Warm Waterford Welcome” would be essential if we are to get those much vaunted TripAdvisor, five circle reviews.

At long last, we are now moving very quickly from a heavy industrial economic past, to that of a tourism economy. Having said that, our manufacturing capacity is actually still very healthy here in Waterford. We’ve many, many innovative multi-national and pioneering indigenous companies based right here. This new manufacturing is now modern, automated clean and lean.

Waterford is ever so slowly and surely beginning to reinvent itself. Quite rightly, there is so much to look forward to. Despite this, so many people have asked me over the last few weeks, about the Government’s fiscal monetary intervention, needed for the infrastructural works on the North Quay (our SDZ). There is now a realisation that if the exchequer purse strings are not loosened and €50,000,000+s are not forthcoming, the two identified game changing projects for Waterford City, may NOT materialise.

These first Swallows of Summer divert our eyes from the longer term goals. We must keep the heat up on our six national public representatives, to deliver our SDZ Euro.

The clock is well and truly ticking towards that pay day!

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