15 towns are included in the shortlist which has been released by Fáilte Ireland. The competition, now in its fourth year, is designed to recognise Irish towns and villages where the local community go the extra mile to enhance their appeal to tourists. Towns in the competition will be judged on development and promotion, local involvement, tourism products available and "sense of place". The towns selected will now be subject to unannounced inspections by 'secret shoppers' over the coming weeks who will visit each location and look for evidence of a high quality visitor experience and of involvement by the local community and businesses in delivering this experience.. The list will then get narrowed down to 10, when both the best large and small tourism town for 2015 will be announced in November.
Last year, Westport won the award for best large tourism town and Kinsale won the award in the small tourism town category. Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring said the awards were about recognising the efforts of towns and villages to make Ireland a more attractive place to tourists.
Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr John Paul O'Shea, is delighted to see the inclusion of three Cork towns in the shortlist and acknowledges the efforts of all involved in such a worthy accolade. "Cork County Council is taking a very active and leading role in the promotion of tourism within the County and is brilliant to see three towns having made it to this stage of the Tourism Town Awards for 2015. It is a wonderful recognition of the co-operation and dedication of all stakeholders promoting Tourism in these towns and I wish them every success over the coming weeks while the final judging takes place".