A better class of visitor required

One of the first things I did when I go to England was to go and see a local cricket match. Why? Because cricket is a uniquely English thing.

When I went to Spain I went to a bull ring (but I couldn’t get in). 

Ok, there’s a hell of a lot of people who want to go where there’s sunshine, lie on the beach all day and drink all night. But there’s also loads of people who are desperate to find something different in this increasingly homogeneous world of ours.

Really, everywhere in the developed world life is pretty similar – get up, go to work, get stuck in traffic, come home, get stuck in traffic, watch telly, go to bed. You couldn’t get a credit card between lifestyles from Rotterdam to Rome.

Up to now, Dublin’s mass market appeal has been the ‘craic’. But the fact is you can have crack anywhere, as our main competitors in this market, Amsterdam and Prague, can attest to. 

We don’t have much in the way of a sex industry (thankfully) and the architecture’s nothing to write home about either.

All well as general crack we need to offer something that is unique to Dublin. 

We already have a dedicated band of tourists who turn up in Dublin to find out why we have produced so many literary geniuses. We need many more and to attract them we need more venues dedicated to our authors where tourists can hear readings, attend lectures and get involved.

I have never understood why gaelic games have never been promoted to visitors, especially weekend visitors. Surely a visit to Croke Park for a hurling of football championship match would provide a unique experience for any foreign traveller. Yet a visitor at Dublin Airport would never know the games exist.

The Government has made a dog’s dinner out of the proposed National Conference Centre and this has cost Dublin hundreds of millions of euro.

In May Dublin Tourism will launch a new strategy to attract a better class of visitor. They’ll need to be – with the price of things around here!

Dublin Tourism Needs Croker long term

The agreement between the GAA and the FAI and IRFU is a massive boost for tourism in Dublin.

The increased capacity at Croke Park could be worth up to €10 million per match to the city, depending on who you believe.

That’s great. 

But it’s only temporary as when the new Lansdowne Road stadium is built it will only hold 50,000 and all soccer and rugby matches will be held there.

This is madness. An Ireland-England rugby match will always be able to fill Croker’s 82,000 capacity. The city would be throwing away millions.

The problem is that the IRFU and the FAI will want to sell their own corporate boxes and seats at Lansdowne while the GAA must accommodate their customers. 

It’s a tricky problem. But the solution is to think about it now and to find some mechanism where Croke Park is opened up for the big matches to maximise the benefit to the city.