SUPPORT LOCAL ECONOMY
Since 2013 the members of the Loop Head Food Cicele have promoted an initiative which placed a logo of a lighthouse beside menu items that sourced their principle ingredients from within the destination area. Thjs links the food experience to the place which increases the demand for those menu items thus increasing the purchasing demand from local suppliers. Two results, happier visitors who can experience a truly local food product and busier local businesses. A classic example of how a simple imitative can ensure tourism works for the local community.
Criteria 1: IMPACT ON THE COMMUNITY
The menu items with the logo have proven to be at least twice as popular as other items, this has increased the demand which in turn has increased production and staffing for the local producers.
Figures are extremely hard to access due to the concern for confidentiality by small enterprises but our best estimate is an increase in local purchasing of approx €150,000 in one year, this is an increase over and above existing purchasing. Failte Ireland figures estimate the value of each job in the tourism industry at approx €30,000 so in a small community this simple initiative has generated 5 full time jobs, the reality is it has probably delivered 10 extra part time jobs on the Loop Head Peninsula.
Criteria 2 : INSPIRING AND EXEMPLARY
Ideas do but have to be complicated, in this instance there is a direct link between influencing the purchasing patterns of visitors, by offering a direct link to local produce, and local economic benefit. It is replicable in any destination that wishes to copy it and the benefits are felt at the immediate destination level.
Happy tourists making happy local businesses which is the best possible outcome from planning an intervention to increase local economic benefit from tourism.
Criteria 3 : CONTRIBUTION TO SUSTAINABILITY
Tourism is an export industry yet it’s impacts are felt locally, the only opportunity loop Head has to access foreign earnings is through tourism. But tourism has shown many times unless those earnings can be trapped locally the sustainability of the industry in a destination is far from certain. This simple initiative has shown how to directly link visitor spend with local economic impacts, thereby increasing the potential for our young people to have jobs and thus contributing to the long term sustainability of our communities. Furthermore, as this is a food initiative, the connection being made to the tourism industry for the food producers has ensured they are capturing the increase in value and are more inclined to behave responsibly in their production methods.