Forests being targeted as tourist attractions

Forests being targeted as tourist attractions

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Pic: Sean Curtin (True Media)
Pic: Sean Curtin (True Media)

A capital funding package of €550,000 for Coillte as part of a strategic partnership to boost the tourist experience at a number of the state owned forestry company’s sites and unleash their significant untapped potential for visitors.

This collaboration with Coillte is the latest in a series of partnerships that Fáilte Ireland is developing with key State agencies and bodies which own and manage attractions and sites that are considered to be of vital importance to tourism. As part of this strategy, Fáilte Ireland is giving capital funding to projects of tourism value as well as providing its considerable expertise in tourism development and marketing.

Six schemes will be rewarded with a €550,000 funding package for the development of project feasibility and design for six projects including facilities/services for motor homes at sites along the Wild Atlantic Way.

Other projects include Avondale Forest Park Experience, Co. Wicklow, Curraghchase Forest Park, Co. Limerick, Ards Forest Park, Co. Donegal, Wild Nephin and Ballycroy, Co. Mayo, Coolaney Mountain Bike Centre, Co. Sligo

Significant further funding to progress these projects will be announced once the projects have been designed and costed.

Making the announcement, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Patrick O’Donovan TD said “I am delighted to see such joined-up working between two state agencies where the strengths and assets of each are being combined to really provide us with an enhanced visitor experience. In an unpredictable trading environment, there can be no room for complacency in tourism and we have to continually go out there and battle with competing destinations to win more visitors to our shores. Partnerships like this – which will ultimately provide us with more compelling experiences on the ground – help provide the cutting edge we need to compete.”

Speaking today, Fáilte Ireland’s Director of Strategic Development, Orla Carroll emphasised the benefits of the partnership. “We know from our own research that more and more visitors want to experience the Irish landscape up-close and personal. The wild and rugged environment of the Wild Atlantic Way and the lush, green and fertile landscapes of Ireland’s Ancient East are very strong magnets for visitors when choosing a holiday destination. These Coillte properties provide our visitors with an opportunity to really get back to nature and get in touch with Ireland. With the great potential that these sites have, this partnership will be a win-win for both agencies and provide tourism benefits for all the communities involved.”

Gerard Murphy Managing Director of Coillte Forest said: “Coillte’s forests, tracks and trails are ideal for lovers of the great outdoors, nature enthusiasts and those who want to explore Ireland’s rich cultural heritage, which is woven into the fabric of the forests We believe we have the facilities and the resources to attract even more visitors and we are delighted that we have an opportunity to develop this partnership with Fáilte Ireland and to continue to grow our long-term vision of making a key contribution to tourism and local economies.”

The development of strategic partnerships with state agencies and bodies in order to maximise the tourism potential of State lands and assets, is one of the deliverables set out in Fáilte Ireland’s Tourism Investment Strategy 2016-2022. Similar partnerships are also in place with a number of other State agencies and bodies, including the Office of Public Works and the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

All photos by Sean Curtin (True Media)

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