Fáilte Ireland is to invest €65m in enhancing its main destination brands — the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s Ancient East, Dublin: A breath of fresh air; and Ireland’s Lakelands — over the next four years as part of a bid to grow overseas visitor numbers.
The investment will take the form of a new capital scheme for tourism projects — both new and existing — that are located within each of the main destination brand regions.
Fáilte Ireland launched the initiative yesterday.
Applications for funding — which will range from €200,000 to €5m, depending on the project — will be open until August 12 and will be welcomed from the public, private, and voluntary sectors.
Last year saw nearly 8m overseas tourists visit Ireland; the first four months of this year has seen a 14% year-on-year rise in numbers.
The Government is targeting annual visitor numbers of around 10m by 2025.
In total, Fáilte Ireland has a funding pool of €125m. Later this year, it will launch further investment drives aimed at smaller projects.
The current drive will focus on bigger projects that can improve its big destination areas.
For example, while some areas within the Ancient East region are attracting nearly 25% of international tourist numbers, some are only landing 11% of the revenue generated by the tourists, as many only visit on daytrips before heading back to Dublin.
The idea for certain areas is to transform them from ‘transit zones’ to ‘tour zones’.
Fáilte Ireland anticipates applications for funds coming from both existing attractions, with the money going to refurbishing and improving their offering, and projects aimed at the development of totally new ideas.
“If we are to compete internationally as a compelling destination, we need to think big.
"Therefore, we wish to fund a number of big projects around the country which have the scale, the strength, and the appeal to attract many more overseas visitors to our shores,” said Fáilte Ireland chief executive Shaun Quinn.
“We are also anxious to fund attractions and projects across all our destination brands and, ideally, we will have a good level of applications from all parts of the country.”
Speaking at yesterday’s launch, Patrick O’Donovan, the junior tourism minister, said: “This capital investment will allow us to support high impact projects around the country and will underpin our overall strategy for sustained tourism growth.”
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