The economic opportunities that Greenways bring to local communities is the subject of a major Fáilte Ireland training and information workshop for staff working in the count
ry’s local councils and public bodies.
According to Fáilte Ireland “Greenways are one of the biggest success stories of Irish tourism that have brought transformative benefits to local communities.”
With interest in walking and cycling holidays on the rise across Europe and globally, Fáilte Ireland and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport are bringing staff from 21 local authorities together to inform and educate them on how to maximise the tourism potential and economic impact of Greenways in their regions. The training workshop is being held in Waterford.
The Councils attending have applied for funding through the Government’s €53million Greenways Development Strategy, which falls under Project Ireland 2040.
The number of tourists coming to Ireland on walking and cycling holidays has grown exponentially in recent years, from 371,000 in 2012 to 1.8million in 2017. Last year, 46% of all overseas holidaymakers to Ireland engaged in walking and cycling as part of their holiday experience.
It is a highly competitive international market and Fáilte Ireland will guide the applicants on how they can tap into this lucrative area by transforming the Greenways infrastructure into compelling experiences for visitors that are commercially viable. Critically, the workshops will also focus on how local communities and businesses along the Greenways can significantly benefit from increased visitor numbers.
A site visit to the popular Waterford Greenway is also on the agenda so the Councils can see first-hand how a Greenway infrastructure can transform an area. Over 280,000 tourists have visited the Greenway, 68% of whom said it was the main motivation for their visit to Waterford.
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross T.D. said
“As part of Project Ireland 2040, the Government has made major investment in Greenways in recognition of their ability to drive tourism and revenue growth into local communities across the country. We are delighted to see such a significant take up in our funding call through the Government’s Greenway Strategy. I’m pleased that Fáilte Ireland is working with the applicants to ensure that these potential Greenways are developed in a way that is compelling to overseas visitors and can deliver economic benefits to local communities and businesses.”
Fáilte Ireland’s Head of Activities, Fiona Monaghan, said:
“The Government has made a significant commitment to developing Greenways infrastructure across the country and this is good news for tourism and for the local economy across the regions. Greenways have been one of the biggest successes in Irish tourism in recent years and, with walking holidays on the rise across Europe, they have major potential to draw more overseas visitors to Ireland. By supporting and working with the local councils who have applied for Government funding, we can ensure that the full tourism potential of Greenways is realised and that communities across the country reap the economic benefits they will bring.”