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Downtown Bushmills -- is it real or is it faux? Photo from theworld.org

Downtown Bushmills — is it real or is it faux? Photo from theworld.org

Here’s a story I love.

As reported by eTurboNews, a travel industry news reporting service, the northern Ireland town of Bushmills is “faking prosperity” in an effort to draw more tourists.

Bushmills is best known as one of the temples of Irish whiskey, but it has fallen on hard times of late, resulting in a fair number of abandoned homes and shops and a drop-off in tourist visits. Besides its four-century-old tradition of whiskey making, Bushmills is a gateway to the Giants Causeway, a dramatic natural formation that resembles stepping stones leading into the sea.

So the town has called on “cosmetic enhancement,” as eTurboNews describes it, a facelift of sorts for a dozen or so boarded up buildings that had become a blight on Bushmills’ main street.

Known as the “Brighter Bushmills Project,” the enhancements include empty houses adorned with artistically painted-on windows and doors, “complete with (painted) people observing passersby outside,” the story continues. Meanwhile, farm animals are depicted emerging from shop doorways.

The art project, which cost 30,000 British pounds, helps to give the impression that the town is vibrant and bustling.

And it’s been a success, says local official Aidan McPeake: “The village has been very popular this year.”

Bushmills isn’t the only northern Ireland village to undergo such touch-ups, but it’s the most extensive project yet. A bonus: Two of the formerly deserted shops now have tenants.

As McPeake sums it up: “Obviously the locals would much rather see the properties filled and in use all the time, but this is the next best thing.”

So let’s hoist a glass to the good folks in Bushmills who are relying on some creative measures to boost tourism. I hope baby boomers will pay a visit — and that some struggling towns and cities in the U.S. will take note.

 

Be sure to download my free report, “How to Ride the Coming Wave of Boomers,” available here. It’s all about the best ways to market travel to baby boomers — the biggest-spending group of travelers the world has ever seen.

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According to government and private surveys:

  • Leading-edge baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1955) and seniors account for four out of every five dollars spent on luxury travel today.
  • Roughly half the consumer spending money in the U.S.--more than $2 trillion--is in the hands of leading-edge baby boomers and seniors.
  • Baby boomers (born 1946-1964) travel more than any other age group.
  • When asked what they would most like to spend their money on, baby boomers answered “travel” more than any other category, including improving their health or finances.

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