Corrs Corner

Editor Frank Corr gives his views on the hospitality and tourism industries, shares anecdotes and gossip and welcomes your contributions.

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Lost in Translation

While most Irish hotels now have websites, their content is not always accessible to Europeans who do not speak English or who have only a modest grasp of the language, Failte Ireland has been encouraging client hotels to include some foreign language content on their sites and to train staff to reply to e-mail requests in the language of the sender.

Many hotels who take this advice have turned to the Google Translator service as a means of converting English text into French, Italian, Spanish or German. They do not realise however that 'Translator' is primarily a dictionary and frequently produces linguiistic horrors when used to translate text.

A colleague who provides a translation service has sent me extracts from Italian hotel websites which have used Googl Translator. Here are some examples:

'Welcome in our HOTEL, where you will have a pleasent stayng , in confortable rooms and aboveall, where you could appreciate the beauty of the city, its beautiful attractions and its marveoussites, which are a throw of stone from the HOTEL CAIROLI.'

'Our hotel is close to the foothill that degrades in the sea. We treat you between the colours and Mediterranean perfumes of an elegant and comfortable ambient
The Hotel Residence’s Tramonto wellness centre is a marvel place, you will immerse in releasing warm of the Roman
Bisazza’s Opus.'

'The 4 stars hotel Borgo Marina in Rodi Garganico distinguish it selves since two years for his capacity to make the stay of his proper guests a moment of serene and joyful experience for living in our earth, the Gargano, hospitality earth of tradition.'

The message is clear. If you decide to include non-English translations on your website- get it done professionally and don't rely on Google.


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Ireland Targets Indian Callers

 A major drive to attract visitors to Ireland from India is to be launched following the visit by the Minister for Tourism Leo Varadkar to the homeland of  his family over the St. Patrick’s Festival.
The Minister visited a Dell plant and a cricket game during his tour and these visits are now likely to inspire a targeted marketing campaign in one of the world’s fastest-growing tourism markets.
Thousands of Indian customer service workers who converse with Irish clients every day on subjects like insurance claims, credit card arrears and computer problems are to be offered an opportunity to give their English ‘an Irishness’ through education-themed holidays. They will have the option of visiting Dublin, Cork, Kerry, Limerick and Donegal to listen to local accents and Cavan and Louth are also likely to be added to the list.

A series of international cricket games is to be staged involving Ireland, England, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India which is expected to attract thousands of fans from these countries and from the UK. The venue has yet to be decided but a source revealed that talks are underway with The Curragh racecourse with a view to laying out a cricket grounds. This would involve the temporary removal of the finishing straight to make way for the boundary.

In an innovative initiative Indian cricket fans will also be able to buy Irish produce on the Internet including Silver Hill ducks and trips to the Boundary with Northern Ireland, tours of the Four Provinces and visits to the Six Counties.

The close historical ties between Ireland and India will also be exploited, but a source close to Fine Gael said that visitors would not be encouraged to visit the birthplace of  Eamon de Valera in Bruree, Co. Limerick. ‘That was all in the past’, she said. ‘Modern India is more interested in IT and Bollywood than in divisive historical figures’

Several towns are interested in participating in the marketing drive with Kilkee, Co. Clare planning to offer a ‘Cead Mile Failte’ to Indians who visit it’s O’Curry Street.

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How Many Ministers ?

So- we have a new Minister for Tourism- or is it two or three?

Minister for Transport andf Tourism Leo Varadkar says he is busy getting his feet under the desk and reading his brief, before he jets off to India, birthplace of his Dad.

Meanwhile the 'other' Minister for Touriism Michael Ring is over in Castlebar encouraging the locals to spend their holidays in Ireland this year- as if they all had a choice.

But the real business of promoting the country has been left to Jimmy Deenihan, Minister for Arts, Heritage and 'Everything Except Tourism', who is in London leading the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade and gladhandling the exiles.

Google 'Department of Tourism' this week and you get Jimmy's Department, try 'Transport and Tourism' and you get- well nothing.

Seems there is some sorting out to be done here- and the sooner the better,

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Trevor's Bright Idea

Although hardly the archtypical 'Dub', Trevor White has always done his bit for his native city. His restaurant reviews were pithy and fun, his 'Dubliner' magazine had focus and style and now his 'Dublin Ambassadors' programme has attracted more than 1,000 applicants in a single day.

The scheme is not without its hazards- we can visualise Dubs moaning about everything from the performance of the football team to the price of the pint as they chat up tourists in The Merrion, Porterhouse or Bewleys- but it also has enormous potential. Out of 1,000 ambassadors we will surely get a few hundred people who love their city, are naturally hospitable and who will meet and make friends with first time visitors to the city.

What I like most about the scheme is that it emerged without the help of Failte Ireland, Tourism Ireland, Dublin Tourism, a 'Think Tank', 'Working Group' or Consultancy Research- just a true blue Dub with a good idea.

Bring it on.

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Party Leaders Ignore Tourism

The Irish Tourism Industry did not merit a mention in the Party Leaders debate on RTE last night. The leaders of Fianna Faiil, Fine Gael, Labour, The Greens and Sinn Fein were all asked about plans to revive the economy and create jobs, but apart from a passing reference from Eamon Gilmore who coupled tourism with retailing and services, no leader looked to the hospitality sector as a source of job creation and economic growth.

At its peak in 2007,  the sector accounted for close on 300,000 jobs and this has now fallen to an estimated 200,000. Restoring tourism to 2007 levels therefore has the potential to create 100,000 jobs and to significantly contribute to tax revenues and our balance of payments through spending by overseas visitors. With its attractive multiplier effect (the manner in which spending spreads through the economy ), tourism offers potential which can outshine the export of goods and services in terms of tax contribution and raising living standards, yet it was totally ignored by the Party Leaders in their plans for economic recovery.

Stupid or what ?

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