Destination Mullingar Meeting 18th July 2023 Minutes:
As part of their ongoing work on promoting Economic Development, Enterprise and Tourism, Mullingar Chamber hosted the first meeting of the Destination Mullingar initiative at the Bloomfield House Hotel on Tuesday 18th July 2023. This meeting was open to all interested parties in the leisure and hospitality sector in the town of Mullingar and district and the aim was to agree an overall strategy in establishing a specific brand and strategy to market the area from a tourism perspective with a particular focus on leisure and hospitality.
The meeting was well attended by representatives of key local businesses in the leisure and hospitality sector. These included Bloomfield House Hotel, Mullingar Park Hotel, Greville Arms Hotel, Kilbeggan Races, Oscars Restaurant and Wholesome Kitchen with several apologies received from others who will attend the next meeting. Westmeath County Council Tourism Officer Una Doris attended and Failte Ireland’s Grainne Cornally sent her apologies owing to a prior commitment but said she would attend the next meeting.
John Geoghegan outlined Mullingar Chambers extensive work in this space and the recent comprehensive tourism strategy submissions made by Mullingar Chamber to the county tourism strategy. He explained how it was the view of Mullingar Chamber that the time has now come for Mullingar to establish a clear strategy around its value proposition as an outstanding tourism destination in the coming years, particularly following on from the success of Fleadh Cheoil Na hEireann 2022 and 2023.
The discussion opened up and several present contributed to an open and frank conversation around the various amenities and how the marketing around them could be improved considerably. Una Doris took questions from several present and indicated Westmeath County Councils support for this initiative to move forward once led by industry.
It was agreed that Mullingar Chamber would approve the establishment of a Company Limited by Guarantee for this specific purpose. Following this, they would apply to Westmeath County Council for funding to proceed and appoint a leading consultant in the leisure and hospitality space to review the entire current offering and key opportunities to form part of an industry led strategy going forward. Several consultants who have already done an outstanding job in this space in other towns [Clonakilty and Westport] were mentioned and would be approached as part of this implementation plan once the CLG is set up and funding is in place.
It was agreed that the next meeting be held in September with a plan to move forward then on a quarterly basis and locate the meetings in each of the hotels in rotating order over the year, to advance and ensure more participants are present at the next meeting once the Fleadh is over.
Proposed next meeting date Tuesday 12th September 10am Mullingar Park Hotel.
- MCC approve CLG setup in principle subject to funding from SPC to do so [August board meeting]
- MCC cost CLG setup and apply to SPC for funding for 1 above
- JG applies to SPC for CLG setup funding as set out
- MCC arranges two directors for CLG setup
- MCC liaise with WCC and FI for list of consultants
- MCC draft up scope of report for etenders and approve content at next meeting
- MCC confirm next meeting on Tuesday 12th September
- Consultant is appointed after next meeting
- Report is received and reviewed
- Meeting to sign off on strategy and apply to WCC for implementation funding
- Quarterly meetings on the second Tuesday of each quarter at 10am [Bloomfield -> Mullingar Park -> Greville]
- John Geoghegan – Mullingar Chamber
- Aisling Coleman – Mullingar Chamber
- Una Doris – Westmeath County Council Tourism Officer
- Oliver Gaffey – Bloomfield House Hotel
- Matt O’Connor – Mullingar Park Hotel
- John Cochrane – Greville Arms Hotel
- Paddy Dunican – Kilbeggan Races
- Noel Kennedy – Oscars Restaurant
- Denise Quirke – Wholesome Kitchen
- Grainne Cornally – Failte Ireland