Coastal Tourism Could be Worth Billions and Sustain Jobs
Published on Jun 19 2014 9:24 AM in General Industry
Tourism in coastal counties could be worth up to €2bn to the economy and sustain around 80,000 jobs, according to Fáilte Ireland CEO Shaun Quinn who spoke at the conference 'Our Ocean Wealth' which was held in Dublin Castle this week.
The conference is the first annual review of progress in implementing the government’s 2012 publication 'Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth: An Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland'. The marine sector has been identified as an important pillar to national recovery and the plan is a key driver for developing the sector and driving economic growth.
Quinn said: “The current dividend from tourism in marine areas is significant but it’s also an area of considerable potential for further growth. And, here, I mean the possibility of real cumulative growth - from overseas markets with much needed increases in foreign earnings rather than simply moving leisure euros from Rathfarnham to Rathmullan or from Wicklow to Westport.”
Ireland’s coastal regions have exactly the characteristics and assets which appeal to those market segments which have the most potential for growth. “Our Natural Heritage, whether landscapes or seascapes, can offer many of the experiences sought by those discerning target market segments most likely to want a holiday in Ireland. That is where future growth lies but packaging and presenting our offering in a cluttered and noisy marketplace and standing out isn’t easy," said Quinn.
The government has invested heavily in the Wild Atlantic Way which, as the longest touring route in the world, has made it a major European tourist attraction. Fáilte Ireland believes that other such projects of scale are needed.
Quinn told the conference that the initial response to the project has been very encouraging. All along the route businesses and individuals have expressed an interest in becoming involved, maximising the opportunity presented by this development. Fáilte Ireland has already noticed that this new tourism offering is attracting attention both overseas and at home.