Building Your Business
Another First for PLATO EBR as it launches its E-tourism Cluster

23 October 2014

On Thursday 23rd October PLATO EBR launched its E-tourism cluster in the Crowne Plaza in Dundalk. The event drew over 30 tourism businesses excited about becoming more digitised and rejuvenated to work together in a collaborative network to promote tourism within the East Border Region.  The aim of the E-tourism cluster is to enhance competiveness for the region whilst supporting businesses to develop their e-marketing activity and to develop e-commerce strategies.

Photo Right: Photo of participants courtesy of Liam McCauley, Irish Guided Tours

The participating companies in the cluster include a range of accommodation, adventure, activity and attraction types businesses from both sides of the border. Dr Cecilia Hegarty Director of PLATO EBR, who officially welcomed the businesses to the first workshop said: “We have a diverse range of complementary businesses in this cluster from museums to self-catering cottages to well-established adventure and bus tour companies, craft distilleries, hotels, golfing, country estates, farm tours to community partnerships.” Dr Hegarty added “This cluster is representative of the calibre of tourism within this region. It is exciting to observe the enthusiasm for networking and the appetite to share knowledge and experience in this new digital era. The participant companies are keen to think local and sell global which can only bode well for the East Border Region.

The Cluster programme has a two-pronged approach that will focus firstly on supporting businesses to become more 'digitised' – Search Engine Optimisation, online platforms, social media – and secondly to enhance tourism supplier and provider relationships (multiplier effects) by improving strategic inter-regional networking opportunities. As a result of the Programme of activity, the tourism SMEs will feed into the development of a Cluster Action plan for the long-term benefit of tourism businesses within the region.

PLATO EBR is delighted to broker a new working relationship with Oli (Oli is an abbreviation for Outside Looking In) which Headquarters is based in Belfast. Siobhan McGuigan who is Head of Tourism and Heritage at Oli is managing the Programme with delivery agent associate Andy Hill Managing Director of DoKoo Digital. Oli has completed a number of private and public contracts within the East Border Region in the tourism area and is well placed to deliver the PLATO EBR cluster activity. Dr Cecilia Hegarty, Director of PLATO EBR said “PLATO EBR is delighted to work on this exciting project with Oli who will expertly lead the workshop activity over the coming months, collaborating with the participating businesses to produce real-time results”.

The E-tourism cluster is the third cluster developed by PLATO EBR, there is also a Food and Internationalisation cluster. In addition, PLATO EBR now has nearly 15 groups (10-15 companies in each) operational across the Region which meeting on a month basis for a 12-month management development programme. There are also two Forums underway offering an accelerated 6-month customised programme of activity for participating businesses from diverse industry sectors.

For more information about group members please visit Here.

For enquiries contact: Cecilia@platoebr.com

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