The Great Lighthouses of Ireland Partnership, the all-island tourism initiative developed by the Commissioners of Irish Lights, has announced Insomnia Chairman, Entrepreneur and TV and radio personality Bobby Kerr as the new Independent Chairperson to support the project’s development. A keen yachtsman with a passion for all things maritime, Bobby will chair the body which features twelve lighthouses in breath-taking coastal locations from Donegal to Cork and from Antrim to Wexford.
In his first act as Chairperson, Bobby attended Seafest 2017 national maritime festival in Galway where he met with GLI Partners, lighthouse operators, and representatives from the Commissioner of Irish Lights.
Bobby takes up the pro-bono role at an exciting time for Great Lighthouses of Ireland, with the Partnership having recently agreed a new marketing and development strategy up to 2020 with the aim of driving up visitor numbers and growing revenue. The GLI Partnership will benefit from Bobby’s business expertise and understanding of community projects to help in building the profile of the lighthouse properties.
With tourists offered the chance to both visit and stay in a lighthouse, the twelve GLI sites combined attracted some 135,000 visitors in 2016. There are over 19,000 bednights available across the various lighthouses; GLI Partnership is forecasting a 9% growth in visitor numbers and over 60% visitor occupancy in bednights in 2017. Both funding and resources have been committed to position the 12 lighthouses as must see, unique and high quality experiences for domestic and international visitors.
Welcoming Bobby Kerr’s appointment, Chief Executive of Irish Lights, Yvonne Shields commented: “Our maritime heritage is a great source of pride. Through Great Lighthouses of Ireland, Irish Lights has brought together a group of people who are deeply rooted in our coastal communities and hugely committed to our lighthouse heritage, and we are delighted that Bobby Kerr will be working with us to support this leading-edge project.”
“Given the success of this initiative to date, Bobby’s background and experience will be of huge value in guiding and informing the future work plans and objectives of the partnership and we look forward to developing exciting new collaborative initiatives with our lighthouse partners over the next phase of development of the project.”
Speaking as he accepted the invitation to act as Chairperson, Bobby Kerr said: “I’m incredibly excited to be given this unique opportunity to contribute to such a high-profile and imaginative tourism offering as the Great Lighthouses of Ireland.
I am committed to ensuring that this partnership adds value to the national tourism development agenda, partners and coastal communities in a manner that is sustainable and one that we are all proud to be associated with.”