Rural Tourism International Training Network

I have been involved with a European wide and indeed international rural tourism training organisation since 2003.  I have been an active participant in various workshops, conferences and training initiatives organised by Rural Tourism International Training Network over the years.  I was attracted to the this networks approach in developing training material and techniques which would be beneficial to the rural tourism entrepreneur (often farmers). 

I was elected to be the Chairperson of this organisation in late 2007 and whilst it is an honour, it has taken me some time to appreciate the intricacies of working at an EU wide level.  In addition, it is not a simple task to source funding for these activities.

I have just returned from a Board meeting of RTITN at the begining of the week on a farm in the Netherlands and we have establised a focused action plan for the organisation over the coming year.  Unfortunately, this does entail work on my part, as well as a number of other partners and potential partners in countries accross Europe.

This is not the time to put detail about our proposals, but we are determined to develop a project which will be fundable by European funds to have our Rural Tourism International ‘train the trainer’ programme officially accreditated accross a number of European states.  We will adapt the programme to meet each countries accreditation systems and have shared learning about the differences in these systems.  We intend feeding in to the work that has been undertaken at an EU level to have a common approach in terms of accreditation accross Europe.

We have already delivered three ‘rural tourism international – Train the Trainer’ programmes in Austria (2007), Hungary and Georgia (2008).  This gives us the confidence to think that our programme is worthy of further utilisation throughout the EU and indeed beyond.  Its all about training trainers to provide focused training skills which will enable them to provide training which is suitable for the needs of an adult learner based in rural communities accross Europe.

This is another aspect of my job as a tourism development officer and it is always pleasurable to meet up with colleagues from different countires in Europe who all are interested in the development and support of the rural tourism sector.

Ebusiness Support Workshop

Talktourism has been busy today with an Advanced Ebusiness workshop for a number of more technology savvy tourism businesses from Cavan and Monaghan.  We have been collectively working on developing blogs, facebook profiles, loading videos and using other Web2.0 technology to drive more web-traffic and ultimately attract more tourists to visit Cavan and Monaghan.

There is a certain air of excitment in the room with the idea that we can really reach a wider tourism audience through the internet.  Their is such a vast gap between the airline industry whom are leading the way in utilising the internet and the smaller tourism businesses who are just getting to grips with the technology.

It is all quite simple, but the reality is that only 2 out of the 7 present at this workshop have broadband… Thats why we are working in an ICT suite with full broadband capability and all here are helping to promote each others web-addresses.  Check out my links for details on the all businesses who are present today and are committed to Web2.0. 

Oh! There is a related discussion ongoing on Talktourism which is also developing along this theme: http://talktourism.ie/forum/showthread.php?t=291

Talktourism – in the beginning

Talktourism? What is it? www.talktourism.ie is a discussion board web-site which was launched in April 2007 in county Cavan on a beautiful spring day.  Talktourism is Ireland’s only discussion board web-site which is dedicated to tourism businesses in Ireland and provides them with an opportunity to meet online and share experiences/knowledge.

 

I am the site developer / administrator and with some help from the Talktourism members, I also moderate the site.  I have been a tourism development officer working for Cavan Monaghan Rural Development for the last nine years and to be honest I really enjoy my work!  Not everyone can say that, But its TRUE!

 

Over the last four or five years I have been able to access funding through an organisation called Border Action to organise and develop various training initiatives to assist the development of the tourism sector in counties Cavan / Monaghan.  For those that haven’t heard, we are based in two border counties in the Republic of Ireland and as a result of our location on the border, these counties had suffered from many knock on problems resulting from the troubles in Northern Ireland. I have grown up through the seventies and the eighties and I do appreciate the peaceful environment that we all live in and may it long continue.

 

So with the funding in hand, we set about assisting the tourism sector develop in Cavan/Monaghan, but at every available opportunity we brought tourism providers together from across the border in Northern Ireland and other border counties to participate in numerous training events!  The more we brought people together from the various tourism sectors, the more they learned from each other and the more everyone appreciated that they ALL shared common problems and issues. 

 

Of course in the last four-five years, we have put a lot of effort in to increasing individual tourism businesses skills to become effective on the internet and to have ebusiness strategies in place to ensure that they are all attracting more and more tourists!  All of this was great, but I really wanted a way to harness the learning that was experienced at each training event, encourage the tourism providers to share their knowledge, communicate and perhaps even work together.  This provided me with the idea that a discussion board would help them to continually learning from each other and become more effective in web-based marketing. SO with the help of a number of key local tourism agencies the seed was sowed and www.talktourism.ie was born. 

 

So that’s some of the background! But where I am going to go next? Well, I think I will bring you to some of the places that I enjoy visiting in the border region, North and South.  The place that I work is based in a wonderful setting in an Agricultural College and I live only five minutes away from work… I always feel good about this when I hear the traffic reports on  the radio in the evening, with all those commuters stuck in rush our traffic in Dublin. J

 

I enjoy mountain biking and a couple of times a week after work, I go out cycling the quite country roads of the counties of Cavan, Fermanagh and Monaghan.  This the best way to finish a day, when most are still stuck in rush hour traffic!  I hope to bring you a video of a typical cycling clip, but in the meantime I have uploaded the view of a fisherman enjoying the peaceful evening on the lough, which is the view out the back of my house. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9jVbVpMmUY 

 

If you’re in the business of tourism, perhaps you could check out our www.talktourism.ie and tell us something about the place that you live… Its good to Talk!  Be back soon!