A new Visitor Experience Plan for the Skellig Coast area was launched today. The new Fáilte Ireland plan aims to increase dwell time in the wider region surrounding the iconic attraction. It will also ensure that developments along the local stretch of the Wild Atlantic Way route are compelling and motivating to international visitors.
Speaking today at the launch in Waterville, Orla Carroll Director of Strategic Development at Fáilte Ireland said:
“This project is all about widening the current visitor experience from just simply being ‘a trip to Skellig Michael’ to a more immersive engagement with ‘the Skelligs Experience’. This approach will generate increased visitor dwelling times and revenue as well as help increase job creation in the local area. This plan also sets out to protect the special environmental character of the place by spreading tourist activity more evenly across the destination.
Key to the success of the development of the Visitor Experience Plan was an extensive programme of consultations and workshops held locally between June and September last year. Ms Carroll added:
“This inclusive approach gave everyone the opportunity to contribute to the plan and shape the visitor experiences that are unique to this area.”
The plan will focus on a number of projects based on the following themes:
- Journeys Inspired by the history of the Skellig Monks;
- the Cradle of Ireland’s Nationhood (centred on Daniel O’Connell’s birthplace);
- A History of Global Connections;
- Where the ocean meets the sky at the edge of the world (incorporating the ‘dark skies’ experience).
In addition, the Skellig Coast Tourism Network which is being formally launched today will also play a key role. The network is an umbrella organisation for the tourism, community, business and development groups that fall within the defined catchment area and will work under the Chairmanship of local Cahersiveen man Frank Curran.
Fáilte Ireland worked collaboratively with key stakeholders in the area including Kerry County Council, South Kerry Development Partnership (SKDP), Udaras na Gaeltachta, OPW, Local Enterprise Office (LEO) and Institute of Technology Tralee as well as a local working group comprised of tourism and community groups in the Skellig Coast area.
Commenting on the initiative, Chief Executive of Kerry County Council Moira Murrell said:
“There is no doubt that the Wild Atlantic Way has already been a major boost to coastal areas. This Development Plan will help ensure continued growth in visitor numbers and will also help to extend the season and spread business to our smaller villages. This will result in increased profitability in hotels, guesthouses and tourism related businesses which in turn will lead to an increase in jobs.
“The Skellig Coast has always had an abundance of riches to offer the visitor. However this plan with its associated operators' workbook will now ensure consistency and an in-depth understanding in the marketplace of the key messages from the region that will help to create the unique selling points and experiences our visitors are seeking.”
Welcoming the announcement and acknowledging all parties involved, Pat Kavanagh Secretary of the new Skellig Coast Tourism Network said -
“The secret is out – following years of individual communities working independently on tourism – we now have a co-ordinated approach where the whole area from Kells to Castlecove is identified as one area under the Skellig Coast Tourism Network – working to providing a unique quality tourism destination for the Irish and International visitor.”
The primary purpose of the network will be to co-ordinate and strengthen the activities of the many local interests working in tourism with the initial aim of implementing the recommendations of the Skellig Coast Visitor Experience Development Plan.
Find out more about what’s happening on the Wild Atlantic Way at www.wildatlanticway.com