Thursday, 20 June 2013

Ceisteanna (147)

Sandra McLellan

Ceist:

147. Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if he will provide details of the efforts he has made to promote and develop political tourism; his view of the potential to develop historical and contemporary political sites as a tourism product; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29913/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Arts)

As the Deputy will be aware, the promotion of Ireland as a tourist destination is primarily a matter for Tourism Ireland and the development of tourism is the responsibility of Ireland’s National Tourism Development Authority, Fáilte Ireland. My Department and the bodies funded from its Vote Group are, however, involved in a wide range of cultural and heritage activities which promote Ireland as an attractive tourist destination worldwide. This includes promoting Ireland's history and rich culture through operating and making accessible our National Parks and Nature Reserves, our built heritage and also supporting the National Cultural Institutions and Arts Council in their work in presenting exhibitions and arts events.

The Cultural Institution supported by my Department play a key in the development of tourism and the commemoration of particular historic and political events. For example, today members of the Kennedy family and I attended the exhibition in the National Library of Ireland dedicated to the visit of President John F. Kennedy to Ireland in June 1963.

The opportunity to promote history-related tourism will be enhanced by certain special anniversaries in the coming years, particularly the millennial anniversary of the Battle of Clontarf in 2014 and the continuing centenary programme relating to the revolutionary period that included the World War, the Easter Rising and culminated in the founding of the Irish State. In this regard, my Department will be working with all other stakeholders to ensure that the maximum benefit for tourism is obtained from any planned events. I recently met with Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland to enhance co-operation between my Department in promoting heritage and cultural tourism and will continue to work with both bodies in order to progress this key agenda for Ireland.