My Department is primarily involved in the development of national tourism policy, while the tourism agencies have responsibility for the implementation of this policy. With regard to the various regions, Fáilte Ireland develops and promotes their tourism potential in line with the relevant tourism experience brands – namely Ireland's Hidden Heartlands, Ireland's Ancient East, the Wild Atlantic Way and the Dublin brand – which are designed to boost tourism and drive visitor growth throughout the country, with consequential benefits for the local economy and jobs right across Ireland.
With specific regard to tourism facilities, Fáilte Ireland provides targeted capital investment in attractions and other tourism infrastructure throughout the regions, consistent with the objectives of Project Ireland 2040 and from funding provided under the National Development Plan (NDP) to help support and grow tourism in rural communities in line with the regional tourism experience brands. Priority areas for tourism capital investment, as identified under the NDP, include the development and enhancement of tourist attractions and activity-based tourism to provide the type and quality of experience that visitors are seeking.
This capital investment is further supported by Fáilte Ireland current investment in complementary programme supports – including festivals and events, business supports and training – aimed at enhancing, animating and promoting the regional tourism experience brands.
I am satisfied that the efforts outlined above, assisted by supportive Government policies and strong annual Exchequer investment in the sector through the tourism agencies, are delivering on our core tourism objectives throughout the regions. In this regard, the Deputy will be pleased to note the latest Fáilte Ireland estimates for tourism employment, which indicate that tourism now supports c. 260,000 vital jobs in communities around the country and provides much needed revenue for local businesses.