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Tourism Research

LIVE (Llŷn IVeragh Eco-museums) aims to enable coastal communities to promote the natural and cultural assets of both peninsulas, Pen Llŷn in north Wales (Gwynedd), and Iveragh in southwest Ireland (Kerry). As such, LIVE is undertaking tourism research to explore opportunities for sustainable tourism, especially outside of the traditional peak tourist seasons. In the following, we provide some details about the research projects for (potential) participants and anyone who may be interested in the research.

An important aspect of LIVE is the knowledge exchange between the two peninsulas. Therefore, anonymous data and findings will be shared with project partners in Wales and Ireland. The findings will also be presented at public (community) events, webinars, and may be presented at conferences and published in journals. We will update this webpage to highlight where the findings will be presented.

Knowledge gaps and aspects of Iveragh peninsula’s natural environment important to local communities

Previously, we conducted an online survey of local environmental knowledge, which was guided by a Public Participatory Geographic Information Systems (PPGIS) approach. This study was carried out to identify knowledge gaps and aspects of the Iveragh peninsula’s natural environment important to local communities. We identified several knowledge gaps and aspects of the natural environment. These were divided into three categories: environmental knowledge, e.g., about specific species, general wildlife, and natural and cultural aspects; natural and cultural features and their influence on resident well-being and sense of pride of the area; and outdoor activities as a form of interaction between individuals and their natural environment. The data also revealed spatial patterns, including: a significant coastal trend for personal well-being, sense of pride, and natural features; a keen interest in natural heritage, even with no direct economic benefit; and a strong link between natural and cultural aspects across the peninsula. The main suggestions for sustainable off-season tourism made by communities were: promotion of outdoor activities, promotion of Dark Skies, local festivals and workshops, nature trails and guided walks, and resources for tourism.

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Currently, we are involved in / carrying out four research projects
1

Engagement with natural and cultural heritage on the Llŷn and Iveragh Peninsulas

2

Changes, challenges, and opportunities that have occurred as a direct and indirect result of Covid-19

3

Key performance indicators - Identifying sustainable and regenerative tourism opportunities on the Llŷn Peninsula

4

Tourism carrying capacity on the Iveragh Peninsula

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1. Engagement with natural and cultural heritage on the Llŷn and Iveragh peninsulas

This is a social media research study to identify how, where, and when visitors and residents on the Llŷn and Iveragh peninsulas engage with natural and cultural heritage. The aim of the study is to investigate user-generated geographic data from social media platforms (Instagram, Twitter, Flickr, Strava, Komoot, AllTrails, and Wikiloc) to identify visitor patterns and popular natural and cultural sites and assets, especially outside traditional peak tourist seasons. The spatiotemporal data will also be used and compared with existing tourism and recreation data (e.g., visitor numbers, visitor and resident satisfaction levels with sites/assets, tourism's contribution to preserving local art and culture, infrastructure improvements) to identify sustainable natural and cultural tourism opportunities. This study aims to answer the following questions:

  1. Where do residents and visitors engage with natural and cultural heritage on the peninsulas?

  2. How do residents and visitors engage with natural and cultural heritage on the peninsulas in terms of their activities?

  3. When do residents and visitors engage with natural and cultural heritage on the peninsulas?

 
 
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2. Changes, challenges, and opportunities that have occurred as a direct and indirect result of the Covid-19 pandemic in the tourism and hospitality sector 

We are inviting tourism and hospitality businesses in Gwynedd and County Kerry to participate in a business survey to identify how Covid-19 has affected business opening hours, tourist seasons, revenues, and business opportunities. The survey can either be done online by completing a questionnaire, or face-to-face in a ~20min interview. We would highly appreciate your contribution. Please do get in touch if you’re interested in participating in this study:  live@ucc.ie

 

The survey objectives are to explore and compare the challenges and anticipated future opportunities across the two areas, with a particular focus on extending peak visitor seasons regarding environmental and socio-economic sustainability. The results will be presented to and discussed with the participants so that the two business networks can learn from one another. The study will also provide a platform to discuss ideas on how potential future drawbacks can be minimised, and a more sustainable, regenerative business model can be created in the two areas. This study aims to answer the following questions:

  1. How has Covid-19 affected opening hours and revenues of tourism and hospitality businesses in 2020, 2021 and 2022?

  2. What were the main challenges for tourism and hospitality businesses as a result of Covid-19 in 2020, 2021 and 2022?

  3. What opportunities do tourism and hospitality businesses anticipate for 2023/2024 and beyond?

Detailed information for participants
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3. Key performance indicators - Identifying sustainable and regenerative tourism opportunities on the Llŷn peninsula

In cooperation with Gwynedd Council, one of the LIVE’s project partners, and Snowdonia National Park we are developing key performance indicators (KPIs) for sustainable tourism. These include socio-cultural, environmental, and economic impacts. As part of the process, we are gathering data and including the findings from the previous two studies to measure the KPIs. The aim is to explore tourism trends, evaluate the current tourism context, and identify challenges and opportunities for sustainable tourism development on the Llŷn peninsula. This project aims to answer the following questions:

  1. What are the most important KPIs on the Llŷn peninsula?

  2. What are the gaps in data to measure KPIs?

  3. What are the main challenges for developing sustainable tourism actions?

  4. How can the opportunities be turned into actions?

 
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4. Tourism carrying capacity on the Iveragh Peninsula

The European Observation Network for Territorial Development and Cohesion (ESPON) have commissioned the Austrian Institute for Regional Studies and Modul University to carry out a project on the carrying capacity for tourism in the Iveragh Peninsula. In collaboration with local tourism stakeholders, the project aims to assess the current tourism situation in order to develop and shape policies and actions plans for the long-term and sustainable development of the local tourist industry, as the sector emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic. This project aims to answer the following questions:

  1. What are the needs, problems and challenges related to tourism activities in the area?

  2. How do regional development aspects (such as socio-cultural and economic qualities) relate to the tourism situation in the area?

  3. What are tourism flows and carrying capacity of the Iveragh Peninsula?

  4. How do local tourism stakeholders define sustainable tourism and how can this be turned into policy recommendations and actions?