The agri-tourism potential of west Limerick and north Kerry is huge, according to Limerick Chamber, which has outlined the opportunities at a seminar in Newcastle West.
It said that the growing number of visitors to the Wild Atlantic Way are looking for the type of experience that can be offered at agri-tourism enterprises in the region.
Limerick Chamber chief executive, Dee Ryan, said West Limerick’s proximity to the Wild Atlantic Way puts it in poll position to capitalise from tourism.
“Agriculture and tourism are the two biggest drivers for the economy in west Limerick/north Kerry,” said Ms Ryan. “There are great supports for tourism around the country at the moment, particularly with the success of the Wild Atlantic Way. There’s an awful lot happening in the region that people in the hospitality and retail sector and in the agricultural community could potentially harness.
“And what we’d love to see develop from today for the local community to take forward is a farm experience loop off the Wild Atlantic Way, developed in west Limerick.”
Minister of state Patrick O’Donovan said west Limerick was uniquely placed to reap the benefits of investment in agri-tourism.
Michael Crowley, with a group from West Cork Farm Tours, outlined their enterprise, which involves a beef farmer, an organic pig farmer, and three dairy farmers, and the huge potential that exists for agri-tourism.
Margaret Jenkins, Wild Atlantic Way manager for Galway, Clare, and Limerick, said part of its strategy is developing experiences that can attract international visitors. Emerging markets such as China, are motivated to travel by dramatic landscapes, fresh air, local food (seafood in particular), and farm visits, she said.
Alan Waters of AIB said the time is right to develop tourism in west Limerick.
“It is becoming increasingly evident that tourists are open to venturing out of the main tourist hubs of Dublin, Galway and Cork,” he said.