A very successful gathering of the Cool Route project partners has taken place on 21st and 22nd April 2016 in Glasgow. Partners of the Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme funded Cool Route project recently held a number of meetings hosted by the Moffatt Centre for Travel and Tourism Business Development at Glasgow Caledonian University in Scotland. The two day Cool Route project event included in depth talks amongst project partners on day 1, and on day 2 a stakeholder workshop with open discussion around the project took place.
The project partners were welcomed by Professor John Lennon, Director of the Moffatt Centre and Assistant Vice Principal of Business Development at Glasgow Caledonian University. Dr. Breda Kenny presented an update on the work of lead partners Cork Institute of Technology on general management of the project; work on the business plan and on the results to date from the sailing preferences survey that was completed in March. The results of this survey are currently under analysis and a final report will be made published this summer and provides a very useful insight into the potential of the sailing sector in all regions.
A representative from Donegal County Council then provided an overview of the ongoing work in communications and dissemination of project information, with particular emphasis on the utilisation of digital marketing channels to raise awareness of the NPA Cool Route project. Detailed discussions took place regarding the project logistics plans and in particular the gap analysis study that is ongoing at Glasgow Caledonian University.
Royal Cork Yacht Club, General Manager, Gavin Deane, presented the work to date on the Cool Route Marketing Plan, the final version to be released in June 2017. Derry City and Strabane District Council led discussions on the IT element of the project with the development of the Cool Route online booking system a key topic on the agenda. Blue Sea Marinas concluded day 1 discussions with a presentation on the realisation and commercialisation of the route. Partners from Norway and Faroe Islands also provided important updates from their regions.
On day 2 of the project meetings, key stakeholders in the sailing and marine leisure sector were invited to join the Cool Route partners and engage in discussion, feedback and insights on the project, which has been very well received. Daniel Steele from Sail Scotland was delighted to attend and to present the findings of Scotland’s Marine Tourism Survey and to enlighten partners on the many excellent marketing campaigns that Sail Scotland has deployed to promote the sector worldwide. Joy Harron from Donegal Tourism Ltd was also in attendance and presented on the marketing work carried out as part of the Sail West, MalinWaters project. Mr. Joe McPhee, Head of Economic Development, Comhairle nana Eilean Siar delivered a very interesting overview on the tourism sector in the Outer Hebrides.
Overall the Cool Route project meetings were extremely productive and provided partners with valuable partner, associate partner and stakeholder input, which will be of great assistance in the continued and ongoing development of the project. Dr Breda Kenny, Head of the Hincks Centre for Entrepreneurship Excellence at lead partner educational institution CIT, said “ongoing stakeholder engagement across the route is key to exploiting the economic potential of the Cool Route project. The focus is on bringing new business opportunities to a wide range of industries, ranging from operators of port facilities to local boatyards, cafes and restaurants, outdoor activity, heritage cultural and other visitor attractions throughout the Cool Route”.
Partners in the Cool Route Project include Cork Institute of Technology (Lead partner and Business Planning), Donegal County Council (Project Publicity and Dissemination), Glasgow Caledonian University (Route Logistics and Planning), The Royal Cork Yacht Club (Cool Route Marketing Plan), Derry City Council (Common Booking System), Torshavn Port Authority (Expert inputs safety) Blue Sea Marinas (Expert inputs design, realisation and commercialisation planning), Western Norway Research Institute (Rural Tourism Development). The Cool Route project also has a number of Associate Partners in all regions who input valuable expertise to the project. The next meeting is due to take place in Derry-Londonderry in October 2016.