Web2.0 Network

I am excited about the prospect of our second Web2.0 Network workshop which take place tomorrow afternoon.  I have to be honest, I am depending on the input of the participants of this workshop to make it a worthwhile day. 

Half dozen of Talktourism members from Cavan and Monaghan have met once before in a workshop held in a ICT training suite and facilitated by a professional web-developer/trainer.  I am going to facilitate this workshop and we are basically going to share each others learning from what has and has not worked in attracting greater traffic through to each individuals web-sites.

These talktourism members are all dedicated tourism SME’s and they all have equally progressed significantly on the online environment from a base of little or no knowledge in 2007 to being regular bloggers and proactive users of various social media tools. 

As a facilitator and trainer, the greatest barrier has been the initial fear of ICT and technology generally.  With a little training and confidence building, it is amazing to see the progression that has been made among a group of rural tourism providers.

There is one other element that I forgot to mention; There is a shear determination among these tourism entrepreneurs not only to succeed, but to ensure that the wider tourism businesses from accross Cavan and Monaghan succeed.

I am looking forward to sharing some examples with you here soon.

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.