Tourism in coastal counties could be worth up to €2bn to the economy with associated employment sustained locally in hospitality and tourism services probably in the region of 80,000 jobs, according to Fáilte Ireland CEO Shaun Quinn who was speaking today at a major Conference, Our Ocean Wealth, which was held in Dublin Castle.
The Conference is the first annual review of progress in implementing the Government’s 2012 publication Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth: An Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland. The Plan, having identified the marine sector as an important pillar to national recovery, is a key driver for developing the sector and driving economic growth.
Speaking today on the development of tourism in marine regions, Mr Quinn said:
“The current dividend from tourism in marine areas is significant but it’s also an area of considerable potential for further growth. And, here, I mean the possibility of real cumulative growth - from overseas markets with much needed increases in foreign earnings rather than simply moving leisure euros from Rathfarnham to Rathmullan or from Wicklow to Westport.”
Mr Quinn added that Ireland’s coastal regions had exactly the characteristics and assets which appealed to those market segments which had the most potential for growth. He emphasised:
“Our Natural Heritage , whether landscapes or seascapes, can offer many of the experiences sought by those discerning target market segments most likely to want a holiday in Ireland. That is where future growth lies but packaging and presenting our offering in a cluttered and noisy marketplace and standing out isn’t easy.
“We believe that for a relatively small destination like Ireland to be successful, we must identify and develop ambitious projects of scale and singularity as a necessary first step and that is why we developed the concept of the Wild Atlantic Way - the longest themed touring route in the world – which evolved from our search for something of scale and singularity”.
Mr Quinn told the conference that the initial response to the project has been very encouraging. Tour operators, local authorities, business people and local residents – all along the route have expressed an interest in becoming involved and in maximising the opportunity presented by this development, and importantly Fáilte Ireland has already noticed that this new tourism offering is resonating and gaining traction in overseas markets and at home.
For the CEO’s full remarks please click here
Published: 18th June 2014