ONE time when I was messing around on the Ballyhooley steam train recently its tireless manager Peter Lloyd reminded me what it would be like if there were no more volunteers and one day the train was put back in the shed for good. ‘‘Imagine if the town didn’t have this,’’ he said. It is a significant asset to the town. Well, the same could be said if we tried to imagine a local economy in which tourism was less supported by our organisations.
That’s why the chamber of commerce - just like the Ballyhooley people - are pushing for greater engagement by the community. It’s people giving of their time and energy that keeps these things going which sooner or later benefit us all. Just like the train, the local economy can’t afford free riders.
There are 1400 businesses in the region and only 100 bother to participate in the chamber of commerce. It’s not just business, but the whole community - right across the region - who need to get onboard.
Due to the dependence on tourism - accounting for 92 per cent of the economy - the right mindset is vital.