FÃILTE Ireland says a number of initiatives will be rolled out over the next 12 months which it hopes will boost the tourism industry locally.
The state body will take over responsibility for tourism in the Shannon region once Shannon Development is merged with the Shannon Airport Authority.
Speaking at a briefing for members of the tourism industry at the Strand Hotel Shaun Quinn, ceo of FÃ¡ilte Ireland, says he is confident about 2013.
â€œThis year in particular, the industry has been given a leg up with â€˜The Gatheringâ€™ initiative developed by FÃ¡ilte Ireland. The local tourism industry needs to put its best foot forward in 2013 and provide those who have come to â€˜gatherâ€™ with an unparalleled visitor experience and great value which will encourage visitors to recommend the Shannon region as a premier destination and return again and again to the region,â€ he said.
A total of 262 â€˜Gatheringâ€™ events will take place in the Shannon Region this year - 61 of which will take place in Limerick city and county.
â€œThe Gathering has immense potential for Shannon and should be a big boost to the region in 2013. We will also spend the next year working on improving our appeal in Britain and working with individual tourism businesses to help them sell more business in our other overseas markets, particularly Europe and North America,â€ said Fiona Monaghan, Head of Operations for FÃ¡ilte Ireland in the Shannon region,
Ms Monaghan said the agency will also be pushing a major new initiative on e-business and social media with a particular emphasis on enabling individual firms to exploit digital channels for sales during 2013.
Major projects in Limerick this year will include the multi-million euro refurbishment of King Johnâ€™s Castle and the development of the Wild Atlantic Way.
FÃ¡ilte Ireland says plans are also underway to develop a Tourism Positioning Statement for Limerick City and its environs and that it will continue to work with Limerick City & County Council to develop a comprehensive programme around Limerick City of Culture 2014.
â€œThe Shannon region has great appeal, an innovative tourism industry and plenty to offer the overseas visitor. I believe, with the promise of The Gathering to come, this could be a pivotal year for local tourism,â€ said Shaun Quinn.