€1.9 million Fund Set to Unlock the Potential of Literary Tourism sector
- Three-year literary tourism pilot programme launches across four Northern European countries this Autumn
- €80K Fund Available to Support Literary Tourism Enterprises in Ireland
- Organisations and businesses encouraged to sign up to November workshops
The untapped potential of literary tourism is the focus of Spot-lit, a new three-year project spearheaded by the Western Development Commission in Ireland, that aims to grow the literary tourism sector in the Northern Periphery and Arctic region. The new programme will support organisations and businesses in this culturally-rich region to grow, collaborate and better engage audiences together.
Literary Tourism is an emerging niche sector within the wider cultural tourism sector, where places with literary heritage offer author and fiction-related literary tourism opportunities along with opportunities arising from literary festivals, trails and book shops. In Ireland, this would include literary rich locations such as Sligo, synonymous with the poet WB Yeats, Seamus Heaney and Bellaghy in Derry, Cuirt International Festival of Literature in Galway, Doolin Writers’ Weekend in Clare.
Funded by Interreg Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme 2014-2020, the regions participating in the Spot-lit programme area are the West of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Eastern Finland and South-West Scotland. Collectively, the region is home to world-class literary icons and landscapes, however, research suggests there is potential for this sector to work together and grow significantly. Current low levels of joined-up literary tourism activity in the Northern Periphery and Arctic Region make it a sector that is ripe for development.
Spot-lit addresses the need for shared development and marketing of existing assets and the development of new ones, which respond to emerging literary and cultural consumer needs. This will result in a better cultural tourism offering and deliver greater economic impact than projects developed in national isolation.
The programme will include the development of a cluster network across the regions, a series of support workshops, the development of 20 new literary products or services and shared learning and transnational marketing.
In November, Spot-lit Partner, the Western Development Commission will deliver a series of workshops for businesses interested in Literary Tourism product development:
- Building successful Literary Tourism experiences for visitors
- Designing and developing your Literary Tourism product or service
- Knowing and growing your market
Following on from the workshops, businesses will be invited to participate in a Literary Business Support Programme. The programme will be open to SMEs, social enterprises, community groups and literary associations with a unique idea for the development of Literary Tourism in their area. This bespoke programme will involve a series of monthly engagement workshops, learning journeys, business advice clinics and individual mentoring supports. The programme will engage with and support 5 businesses and will include €10,000 business development support. The focus of the business idea/product will be for the development of Literary Tourism through literature, place and performance.
In tandem with the Literary Business Support Programme, a new Literary Tourism Model will be developed and will include a €25,000 business support – the model will be developed by identifying a programme of potential performances linked to the Wild Atlantic Way and its literary assets.
Speaking on the launch of the SME Businesses Support Programme, CEO Tomás Ó Síocháin of the Western Development Commission said:
‘The west has a fantastic story to tell; an area of arresting physical beauty, centres of innovation and economic growth, however Spot-Lit is an opportunity to focus on some of the stories as yet untold. I would urge communities, groups and SMEs to engage with the Literary Business Support Programme, one aspect of the work of the WDC in supporting the Creative Economy.’
The project launched on September 25th with a new website at www.spot-lit.eu, dedicated social media channels @spot_lit_eu. The NPAP region in Ireland includes all coastal counties from Donegal to Cork. Literary businesses and organisations in these counties are encouraged to register their interest for upcoming events and workshops.
The project will run until September 2021.