Today I welcomed the announcement that Dublin and Ennis have become the first two locations in Ireland to be designated a Purple Flag. Much like Blue Flags are awarded to top class beaches, the Purple Flag recognises excellence in the management of towns and cities at night and is considered to indicate where to go for a good night out.
This is a great boost to Dublin in the year of The Gathering, as we are trying to attract more and more people to our capital city. Tourism is hugely important to the local economy, and anything that encourages people to visit Dublin for a weekend, or even just a night out, should be seen as a welcome boost. I’m delighted to see that Dublin and Ennis have become the first locations in the country to be awarded a Purple Flag.
It is thanks to the hard work of those involved in Dublin’s Creative Quarter and Dame Street that the city has obtained this prestigious honour alongside. Credit too must be given to the Dublin City Business Improvement District, the Gardaí, Fáilte Ireland and Dublin City Council. It took a considerable amount of initiative and determination to attain this award, and this effort must be acknowledged.
I have no doubt that this Purple Flag award will help Dublin to play its part in boosting tourism rates by 5% this year; the target set as part of The Gathering. The positive publicity generated by the Purple Flag should help to attract people to our capital city. Our tourism sector is on an upwards trajectory; this award will help it to keep moving in the right direction.
The importance of the pro-tourism policies being implemented by the Government shouldn’t be underestimated. Measures such as the VAT reduction on tourism services have played an important role in boosting visitor numbers for the second year in a row, following three successive years of decline from 2008-2010.
I’m sure that the Purple Flag will help us on our way to the bigger goal of seeing another rise in tourism in 2013. And it will tell the world what Dubliners already know; that you’re certain to have a great time if you come to our capital city.