Last week the Upper House of the Oireachtas was briefed on Ireland’s tourism performance.
Since the downturn, we’ve been keener than ever to attract the tourist dollar. Gabriel Byrne was anointed our cultural ambassador, and then we had the Gathering. All laudable, but maybe lacking in long-term sustainability.
In his briefing to the Seanad, the Minister for Transport and Tourism, Paschal Donohoe, reminded members of the recently-launched ‘Grow Dublin Alliance’. He articulated it as ‘a unifying brand identity for the capital (for the first time ever)’.
While, fingers are all crossed that this new venture will work, and that Dublin can command the same kind of tourism market-share as Copenhagen or Berlin, the reality is that Dublin does not operate in a joined up way. Not across utilities. Not across business. Not across planning.
Working together to promote tourism cannot be stand-alone. If we want Dublin to be Ireland’s gateway city for such activity as tourism and business, we need a bigger brand and dedicated leadership.
That’s why Dublin needs a directly elected mayor for all of the City. We don’t need our City to operate under four separate entities, all replicating services, and competing against each other for market share in business, tourism and cultural capital. After all, we’re not a metropolis and cities, such as New York, can manage with one governance structure.
A mayor for our Capital City would offer the united brand for our tourism offerings, as well as business opportunities and gateway potential to the rest of the country.
Huge stumbling blocks have been put in the way of delivering a mayoral structure to govern, market and resource our Capital.
Minister Donohue’s proposal for a united brand (for the first time ever) for our City not alone serves to highlight the fact that the carved-up Dublin doesn’t serve our tourism potential, but it shows that we can’t reach our potential in business or effective resource management either.
Can a Minister please stand up and concur?
Follow Catherine on Twitter: @catherineheaney
Image taken from RenegadeDublin.com.