Thursday, July 31, 2008

Shockwave thoughts on fossil fuel

Phew! Just returned from the petrol/gas station after my first diesel fill up costing €90.


Last month was my first fill costing over €80 after a few years of fill ups costing around €70.


€20 jump, about 22.5% rise in fuel costs within two months is making me think about how to provide future tours with value without raising my prices.


The fast thinking solution is to serve future tours more walking and cycling along with much more relaxing still quiet time and far less minibus travel.


This will actually move Celtic Ways tours towards what I was intending anyway. The best way to experience Ireland is to focus on a small area and totally experience what surrounds us.  Fortunately, I live in a part of Ireland that is the most abundant with local ancient sacred sites, alive traditions and endless mythological and legendary tales, along with beautiful views.


A challenge I have had so far is that visitors, especially from North America, are eager to capture as much of ireland as they can, with priority not being on experience of Ireland but of being able to tell friends back home about all of the places they visited. For example, I had one group this summer determined to visit the Blarney Stone, not because they wanted to but because they were worried what their friends might say if they went home and said they never visited there. To their credit, though, they also indulged in remote little known sacred areas and treasured this.


I do not know what I’ll manifest from these thoughts because I am receiving many group requests for “all Ireland” tours during 2009 but at CIE bus tour prices.


CIE is a national government administered transport organisation best known for its tour bus tours. This networks with other government administered or former government administered operations such as Aer Lingus airlines, Failte Ireland who has a huge influence on accommodation and its pricing, and government sponsored visitor’s centres like Bru Na Boinne (Newgrange and Knowth), Cliffs of Moher, Country Life Museum and Bunratty Castle. Also, I am sure their buses get general fuel cost relief, but I cannot confirm that.


This means the syndicate of this network can slash prices and provide low cost tours, which are actually very enjoyable. However, as a couple of our own travellers, former CIE travellers, have told me, the savings on CIE tours are quickly eaten up through them “dumping” you at sites that tempt you to empty your pockets and max your credit cards. This is how the Irish government get their investment money back. 


However, it is not how I operate. We provide comprehensive tour packages that require little additional out of pocket expenses plus where we visit provides few temptations to spend more money.


A budget package I am now composing, to suit the new demand is ….


An arrival experience, for a couple of days, Celtic Ways style in Co. Sligo, to “experience” Ireland followed by transfer to a CIE or similar type of tour to get around Ireland and take those snaps to take home for family and friends gatherings.


……..  but for the eco demands


Of course, I will still serve “all Ireland” tours for those serious about the experiential tours we do that do cost more but I would also like to encourage folks to seriously think about taking a vacation in Ireland that is more eco friendly and does use much less fossil fuel.


I believe this is the type of vacation we can serve best, that also provides the best possible experience of Ireland, its spirit and its traditions too. 


For your own individual, family and group touring inquiries please write to me from here.


 

2 comments:

  1. I'm glad to hear that you are considering how to make your tours more energy-efficient. Here in America the price of gas has about doubled over the last year or two, and it's a disaster because our country is much more sprawled out than yours. Most people need a car for everyday activities; few places have enough public transportation or sidewalks for people to do without cars.

    Recently Al Gore posed a challenge to make America's energy 100% renewable in 10 years. I started a LiveJournal community, gore_challenge, to track efforts in that direction. I'm going to link to your post from there; it has some good ideas for other entertainers and for people planning a vacation.

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  2. Having lived in the USA I discovered what you say and public transport was regarded as something "bums" use, but I did see changes before I left. Public transport developments in Ireland has been incredible during the past 5 years with high quality comfortable trains and buses that are low cost and make a profit. Many trains here now even have a powerpoint at each seat for laptops etc. and lots of legroom too.

    I hope public transport is invested in through the USA. However, USA does transport a lot of freight by rail which is good. Cruel to say, but maybe oil prices are not high enough there yet. In Ireland our motor fuel cost is about 4 times more expensive than USA working out about €12 per gallon now.

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