Monday 22 January 2018

Students examine tourism potential of Wexford town

By Esther Hayden

Members of Co Wexford Age Equality Network taking part in a tourism feedback event at the National Heritage Park recently.
Members of Co Wexford Age Equality Network taking part in a tourism feedback event at the National Heritage Park recently.

For the past nine months, over 200 from the School of Hospitality and Tourism at the Dublin Institute of Technology have been visiting and considering tourism opportunities and issues in and around Wexford town.

As part of an initiative Students in Action, eight modules have been delivered on a number of tourism and event management programmes focused on Wexford Town as part of their student assignment work. The modules include etourism, marketing planning, consumer behaviour, event management and studies, tourism studies, destination management and planning, Tourism Enterprise Development and Tourism Policy and Planning.

In October some 120 students took part in the initial field trip to the town. As part of the field-trip the students went on a walking tour of the town, were involved in gathering the perceptions of local residents and visitors for their module in Consumer Behaviour facilitated by Dr. Deirdre Quinn and visited the National Heritage Park.

After a seminar with local business people the students were given a walking tour of the town. Etourism facilitated by Dr. Theresa Ryan, involved the creation of videos with key recommendations from the students of Hospitality, Tourism and Events and Languages. The focus of the videos was on supporting co-creation and encouraging stakeholders to share and celebrate success. Dr Ruth Craggs led the students of Event Management who offered suggestions to develop community-based festivals, pop-up restaurants and food trails, a youth music festival, amateur garden design show and 'Love Wexford'.

Led by Dr. Bernadette Quinn, the students visited Old Bawn beach and facilitated by Eamonn Doran, Conservation Ranger NPWS, they evaluated the impact of tourism on the beach and sand dune systems. Bernadette and Dr. Kevin Griffin facilitated the MSc Tourism Management students who worked on destination planning and management. A key focus in their work was the importance of collaboration and networking among local stakeholders in order to develop a common vision for the town.

Tourism Management students along with the BA in Languages and International Tourism, were also involved in developing new, or building on existing tourism enterprises in the area. Enterprise identification and development is considered as a key to economic growth. Dr. Ziene Mottiar and Dr. Catherine Gorman who delivered this module emphasised two key areas: business planning and marketing planning. Innovative projects submissions by the students included developing an Ice Bar, an ecovillage, glamping on the beach, a diving centre, an interactive restaurant, an urban beach for Wexford town and a variety of eco and hostel accommodation.

Students from the B.Sc. in Tourism Marketing and Tourism Management Students developed a tourism destination marketing plan for Wexford. This involved participating on a field trip in February with a focus group taking place in Whites Hotel with members of the County Wexford Age Equality Network organised by Sean Kinsella and Marie Louise Byrne, Wexford Local Development. The focus of the destination marketing plan is to position Wexford town as an age friendly destination for visitors. This was achieved through enthusiastic input from the Age Equality Network.

Alex Gibson, Assistant Head of School of Hospitality Management and Tourism, thanked the people Wexford, the Age Equality Network and students for contributing to the project.

Wexford People

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