North Tipperary County Council: Giving tourism a boost
Shannon Development is focused on developing the industrial and tourism potential of North Tipperary as part of its mandate in the Shannon Region. It is Ireland’s only dedicated regional economic development company.
”Nothing came up when I searched for a restaurant in North Tipperary on my GPS . I was sent to Limerick!” This anecdotal but significant experience prompted Bernie Leonard, Shannon Development Tourism Officer for North Tipperary & Offaly, to do something about making it easier for tourists to enjoy County Tipperary. “We wanted to provide visitors with accurate tourist information on their SatNav’s and encourage more of them to holiday in our Region” she says.
The Satellite Solution
The Head of Tourism took the idea up with two of the main companies producing satellite-navigation systems. Together they initiated a project aiming to reference all points of interest in North Tipperary on navigation systems’ maps. These included restaurants, hotels, activity providers, tourist attractions, emergency services and others. The Head of Tourism has worked closely with North Tipperary County Council and Shannon Broadband Ltd. in seeing the initiative through.
In total 220 Points of Interest for the region were collected, analysed and mapped accordingly. The staff in charge of the project at the tourism office of Tipperary were given geo-referencing tools to collect the geographic coordinates of the points of interest they inventoried, according to a pre-defined format, compatible with the existing satellite navigation systems. A letter was sent to all the local tourism trade who were mapped as part of the project, asking for permission to include them on the maps.
Shannon Development now provides website links for the general public to download the application directly on to their personal satnav unit. This pilot North Tipperary SatNav initiative proved so successful that Shannon Development decided to roll out their GPS project throughout the Shannon Region in a bid to make it easier for visitors to get accurate tourist information digitally.
Over 1 000 points of interest in counties Limerick, Clare, Offaly and North Tipperary have now been made available to tourists and the business community for download to satnav units. The initiative was a result of a need identified for independent travellers looking for free, instant and accurate guidance and mapping information on ‘where to go’ and ‘what to see and do’ in the area they are visiting.
Furthermore, in 2012 a smartphone application that uses GPS technology and Google Maps to guide tourists and outdoor enthusiasts around the trails of Lough Derg lake was launched. The EveryTrail application allows users to find trails near their current location. They can then download maps, route descriptions, images and other content and ask the app to direct them to the starting point and then navigate along the route. The mobile app features over 20 types of trails from walking, cycling and water-based activities to heritage tours and driving routes, making it the most comprehensive mobile application for leisure trails ever launched in Ireland. The app is available for download for free by iPhone and Android users.
The information on accommodation and visitor attractions will entice more overnight stays in the Region, and lead to a range of spin-off benefits for tourism businesses and the service sector in the area.