Failte Ireland Aims for Regional Spread

It is Fáilte Ireland’s long-term objective to ensure a greater regional spread of the socio-economic benefits of tourism, Paul Keeley, Director of Regional Development, Fáilte Ireland, told an Oireachtas committee.

“At the heart of Fáilte Ireland’s work to develop the spatial spread of tourism are four regional experience brands: Wild Atlantic Way (we will be marking its tenth anniversary next year), Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands, Ireland’s Ancient East, and Dublin,” he said.   

“For each brand, we have developed a Regional Tourism Development Strategy in partnership with local authorities, state agencies, communities and industry partners. We have painstakingly developed these strategies to ensure the focus on tourism development is sustainable and regenerative and that the benefits accrue to local communities and to nature. They provide the blueprint for the development of sustainable tourism across all parts of the country.

“To deliver the strategies, we are creating local area action plans across every region. We call them Destination Experience Development Plans – DEDPs – and by the end of this year, there will 24 active destination development plans and 36 by the end of 2025. In short, every part of the country will have a dedicated tourism development action plan created in partnership with local stakeholders.

“The backbone of our regional strategies is a capital investment programme of €320 million in attractions, outdoor changing facilities, greenways, trails and the wider public realm. We are currently working on nearly 120 outdoor enhancement projects and are progressing well with our pipeline of 27 large scale attractions nationwide that will come on stream over the next five or six years. While we recognise that we will encounter variations in anticipated timelines for project delivery, trying to manage these changes with a fixed annual capital allocation constrains our ability to manage our capital pipeline dynamically.   

“By way of opportunity, the growing demand by visitors to explore nature offers real potential for rural Ireland. The natural heritage and cultural assets found in our National Parks and Forest Parks, our inland waterways and our coastal waters have the potential, if developed appropriately, to be a key motivator for visitors.

“Recognising the important role tourism plays in supporting rural communities, Fáilte Ireland has been awarded €68 million through the EU Just Transition Fund to deliver a transformative Regenerative Tourism Scheme for the Midlands.”