Over 200 delegates were treated to some of the most stunning coastal views of Donegal today when they attended the ‘Connecting our Coastline’ Marine Tourism Conference in the Shandon Hotel at Marble Hill in Dunfanaghy.
Delegates heard from a number of inspiring speakers including world famous marine biologist and Monty Halls as well as the Marine Institutes Thomas Furey, entrepreneur Naomh McElhatton, Clean Coasts Officer Beckey-Finn Britton and local businessman Jim Muldowney.
This conference was hosted by the Donegal County Council’s Tourism Unit and was co-funded by the Marine Institute.
Cathaoirleach Cllr. Gerry McMonagle believes that hosting a conference of this nature in such a stunning location highlights for us all the wonderful resource that we have in Donegal.
“This conference is about providing businesses and organisations with a platform for networking and knowledge exchange. We have common aims and objectives and want the very best for the development of marine tourism in Donegal. This is a forum in which we can exchange information about our businesses, develop new connections and explore opportunities for collaboration.”
Also speaking at the conference Seamus Neely, Chief Executive of Donegal County Council gave an overview of the extensive programme of work being delivered by the Councils Tourism Unit with a view to developing the Marine Tourism Sector in the county.
He said “Today’s gathering demonstrates the wonderful drive and enthusiasm here in Donegal towards marine tourism. People want to connect and by working together we can harness the power of collaborative development in this sector. By having events such as this we have an opportunity to share insights and thought provoking expertise that will allow us to be creative and innovative in our approach to maximising the potential of this sector for the benefit of the county and the entire region.”
Monty Halls certainly inspired those attending the event with his own insights, experiences and thoughts on how Donegal can maximise the value of our outstanding natural resources in a proper and sustainable way.
Thomas Furey from the Marine Institute presented details on the Irish national seabed mapping programme which is being delivered in partnership with Geological Survey Ireland while Naomh McElhatton gave a vibrant presentation on how businesses can work smart and use online opportunities to grow their business. She also gave the audience a glimpse of where the market is going with new virtual and AI technologies and the exciting opportunities that exist for tourism businesses in this area.
Becky-Finn Britton shared her passion for the sea and outlined the great work that is being done under the Clean Coast programme working with communities and local authorities along the coast.
Jim Muldowny from Dive Aranmore Charters talked about his own successful business and about promoting the islands and coastal areas of the Rosses as a destination for enthusiasts of marine and coastal based activities.