Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Questions (72)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Question:

72. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of efforts to support the rural tourism industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29580/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

My Department is primarily involved in the development of national tourism policy, while the tourism agencies have responsibility for the implementation of this policy.  In line the Tourism Action Plan 2019-2021 Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland aim to grow Irish tourism in a sustainable manner, having regard to both the regional and seasonal spread of tourists.  

Under the Action Plan, Tourism Ireland's international marketing will place a greater emphasis on regional growth and season extension.  Tourism Ireland’s new global marketing campaign – ‘Fill your heart with Ireland’ – features lesser-known attractions and regions, in order to spread the regional benefits of our growing tourism economy. This campaign will also focus on seasonal growth by timing marketing campaigns to drive bookings outside of the peak tourism season.

Fáilte Ireland develops and promotes tourism in line with the relevant tourism experience brands including Ireland's Hidden Heartlands, Ireland's Ancient East, and the Wild Atlantic Way.  Priority areas for tourism capital investment include the development and enhancement of tourist attractions and activity-based tourism.  As set out in the Tourism Action Plan 2019-2021, the aim of this investment is to increase regional spread, extend the season and promote sustainable growth with consequential increases in visitors and benefits for the local economy and jobs right across Ireland.  This capital investment is further supported by Fáilte Ireland's current investment in festivals and events and supports and training for tourism businesses across the regions.

Separately, Minister Ross and I recently announced €40m in funding to develop greenways projects across Ireland in counties such as Offaly, Cork, Wexford, Kilkenny, Waterford, Galway, Kerry, Kildare, Mayo and Wicklow.  By the end of this year, the Maynooth to Athlone Greenway is scheduled to be completed bringing walkers and cyclists from just outside Dublin across the Midlands to the River Shannon in both Westmeath and Longford.  These tourism focused developments have proven in the past, particularly the greenways in Waterford and Mayo, that they can be strong magents for visitors.

I have asked both agencies to provide the Deputy with further information.  Please contact my office if you have not heard within ten working days.