Online Tourism Supports Short-listed for Net Visionary Award 2009 Short-listed for Net Visionary Award 2009

Rural tourism entrepreneurs are often isolated geographically and usually work on their own.  Sometimes they do have the support of their families who work as part of the business from time to time.  The rural tourism enterprise requires a lot of hard work, dedication, good management skills, is time consuming and they must present a friendly image to their guests/visitors at all times.


So how and when can a rural tourism entrepreneur find the time to develop and expand their tourism enterprise?  It can only be done by taking time out of the business to participate on training programmes and other workshops designed to assist them to expand their skills and knowledge.  This is a big step for many and they are often uncomfortable as adults to return to a classroom style environment to acquire this knowledge and skills.

Throughout the World each country has some form of local, national or regional agency in place to facilitate these workshops and training.  In Ireland, as part of a rural development local action primarily and as a part of Rural Tourism International, we have strived to assist the development and delivery of training which has a practical outcome for the rural tourism learner (often adult learners).

After training has been completed, in the months and years which follow I would think ‘what ever happened to certain participants?’ Often I could not answer this question.  I have formed networks among the rural tourism enterprises in my region which would work in the short term, but would ultimately cease to function when the supports through organisation was withdrawn.

To cut a long story short, we developed Irelands only online discussion forum dedicated to the tourism enterprise sector in April 2007: .  It is now a functioning discussion forum where tourism enterprises from throughout the island of Ireland and beyond meet online.  It is a place where; new ideas are discussed, success stories are shared, marketing opportunities are highlighted, problems are trashed out, skills are transferred, the fears of the internet are reduced and where networking takes place everyday.  This is a simple solution to the needs of an isolated rural tourism entrepreneur, but in my view it works!

This is a model that I would like to promote to other tourism development bodies world-wide and perhaps there are opportunities for collaboration in the future!

I am delighted to inform you that our discussion forum has been short-listed for a national award in Ireland in the ‘Online Tourism Award’ category of the Irish Internet Association & Enterprise Ireland Net Visionary Awards 2009.  We are delighted to be in the final running for this award with some of the best tourism web-sites in Ireland. The winners for these awards are selected online by the general public and I would appreciate if you could vote for John Toland: by clicking here NOW. (voting closes on 1st May 2009)

We would like to hear your comments about what think about our website and whether do you think it is something which would be attractive to your tourism enterprises?


  1. Martin Robinson said

    I think that the model that is being presented by John is a very credible concept and could be adopted by other Rural Tourism agencies and or tourist user groups.
    I live in a very rural part of Spain and although there are a number of local council supported and regional tourism agencies, none as far as I know promote tourism trainingn networking or try to facilitate sharing experiential learning.
    Our mountainous region of the Sierra Almijaras supports numerous rural tourism businesses, many struggling in relative isolation with little contact with others having similar problems. An Internet based forum and training network would share expertise and important information on areas like EU funding for business development, marketing and event promotion, training schemes and learning opportunities etc. The whole region would benefit from this in the long run. In our region many small enterprises are run by expat’s from other EU countries, many of whom speak English and of course Spanish. A biligual forum would be very useful in our region as English is not commonly spoken by local Spaniards. Martin Robinson; Canillas de Albaida, Malaga Province, Andalucia, Espana.

  2. ruraltourisminternational said

    Thanks Martin for your feedback on the concept of using an online forum to assist communication among rural tourism entrepreneurs. In the overall scheme of things the set-up cost for this type of website is relatively low. But it requires at least one or two dedicated personnel to ensure that the site is maintained and grows.
    Rural Tourism entrepreneurs can be encouraged by what they read from their own counterparts in the business and once they have the basic ICT skills the discussion forum can help them to acquire new skills.
    I do think that there may be some possibility for a future project application???
    Thanks again

  3. Dear all,

    So pleasant to view you. Only Michele is serious and doesn’t smile, why?
    I couldn’t contact George from Austria. Pls. supply me with his email.
    Hope to support collaborative and effective friendship in future.
    Warm regards
    Marina from Georgia

  4. Alexandra said

    Dear John,
    congratutations for the blog!
    It will be very good to change an attempt between us and other people. I very hope to connect with our blog and be useful for our people.

    With best regards
    Alexandra – BARET – Bulgaria

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