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December 17, 2009

Athy is SHINE-ing!

Athy becomes first town in Ireland to roll out new tourism initiative

Athy will be the pilot town for an exciting new tourism initiative, called SHINE TOWN, which aims to reinvigorate the traditional Irish welcome offered to overseas visitors.  Developed by Tourism Ireland in conjunction with Fáilte Ireland and in response to approaches from local tourism interests, the project will be rolled out in Athy from this week and over the coming three months.   

The overall objective of the SHINE TOWN programme is to ensure that tourists visiting Athy experience the best possible service wherever they go in the town.  The entire community in Athy will be behind the programme – and not just those people working in tourism.  So, when visitors to Athy come in contact with all frontline staff – in shops, pubs, garages, and so on – everyone they meet will deliver the best possible customer experience with wonderful, friendly service and will be striving to display the four key behaviours of the original SHINE programme rolled out earlier this year: S-omeone who is H-appy, I-nterested, N-atural and E-xpert.

At the end of the pilot programme in Athy, research will be undertaken by Tourism Ireland to measure the success of the project and a blueprint will be developed and shared with other towns around the island of Ireland, to help them roll out SHINE in their own communities.

The roll-out of the SHINE TOWN programme in Athy over the coming months will include:

  • training programmes for all frontline staff, run by Fáilte Ireland;
  • competitions for schools to get the local children involved and thinking about the project;
  • promotions and competitions on local radio to help raise awareness; 
  • the local council putting up signs saying “Athy - Ireland’s First SHINE TOWN”; and the creation of a special SHINE map in conjunction with Fáilte Ireland, listing the top ten things to do in and around the town.

Commenting on the initiative, Brian Twomey, Tourism Ireland’s Head of Marketing Communications, said:  “In our marketing overseas, Tourism Ireland promises potential visitors an experience that is unique and full of spontaneity, engagement and fun.  When those visitors arrive, the people they meet around Ireland are the ones who actually deliver on that promise.  They can do this by performing at their best - by being happy, interested, natural and expert.  The message is simple: when our people shine, Ireland radiates!

“Athy will be the pilot town for this project following approaches to Tourism Ireland by a number of people from the town who were aware of the SHINE programme and were keen to become more involved.  We were impressed by their enthusiasm and commitment and we look forward to working with them in 2010, to make their aspiration a reality and to kick off something that can be replicated in other towns around Ireland.”

Kevin Kidney, Fáilte Ireland, said: “We look forward to working with the people of Athy on this project over the coming months.  It is a great opportunity for the town to generate the same enthusiasm for tourism as an economic driver that is already evident in the ShopAthy initiative.  We are confident that the commitment already shown by the local committee will lead to a successful outcome.”