Whistle Past the Church No More, Perceptions on Added Value to Industrial Tourism in Dublin's Liberties
Situated in the Liberties area of Dublin, and within a short walk of Trinity College, the Guinness Storehouse serves as an iconic key attractor for up to one million visitors annually. The success of this visitor attraction can be directly attributed to a "brand immersion" strategy, which emotionally links the visitor with the brand through cultural identification alignment. Yet many tourists, in accessing Ireland's premier tourist attraction, often pass within the shadows of a cluster of
... a cluster of lesser known, but nonetheless significant church heritage sites. While acknowledging that at the extreme ends of an experience continuum "brand visitation" and "church visitation" experiences can be quite different, with outcomes ranging from brand alignment, to the church's offering of peace, nostalgia, knowledge acquisition, "atmosphere", or indeed, the gaining of spiritual merit, the fundamental motivation to visit these disparate attractions can be similar, with each being perceived as offering a form of intangible, postmodern, curiosity-driven cultural experience. However, delivering this multifaceted tourist experience can often be compromised by a requirement to optimise the allocation of existing resources, within a framework of competing supply and demand factors. This is further complicated by the time pressured decision process facing the short break tourist, who will often look for added value before committing valuable time to visit a single attraction in a less attractive part of the city. This apparent need for added value would suggest an opportunity for the development of a localised product bundling strategy for the short break visitor. Consequently, this exploratory paper will examine the possibility of blending the church visitation experience in the Liberties area of Dublin with that of the highly promoted "must see" visit to the Guinness Storehouse, from a supply side perspective, which hopefully will provide the basis for a demand side perspective to be assessed at a later date. The methodology employed is mainly qualitative, involving unstructured interviews with key informants. The study's findings may be used to explore the possibility of developing a heritage trail, using the concept of "synergy through good citizenship", as applied across these "once adversarial" stakeholders.