Lough Derg has received national recognition at the 2017 Irish Tourism Industry Awards.
The Lough Derg Marketing Group (LDMG) was named ‘Best Local Authority Tourism Initiative’ at a gala event in Dublin on Friday night at which Minister for Tourism Shane Ross TD was in attendance. It was originally set up to develop Lough Derg as a key visitor destination.
Its membership includes Clare County Council, Tipperary County Council, Galway County Council, Waterways Ireland, Inland Fisheries Ireland, community development organisations, and business and trade representatives.
Organised by the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation (ITIC), the umbrella group for the tourism industry in Ireland, the Irish Tourism Industry Awards are run in conjunction with Failte Ireland and Tourism Ireland. Designed with the intention of rewarding innovation and excellence in tourism, 14 winners were ultimately selected from approximately 250 entries.
Speaking following the awards ceremony, Councillor Bill Chambers, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, said, “The Lough Derg area, which incorporates parts of Galway, Clare and Tipperary, is regarded as one of the country’s most valuable tourism assets. The Lough Derg Marketing Group, working in collaboration with Failte Ireland and Government, is playing a key role in enhancing visitor access to and awareness of all that the area has to offer.”
Gerard Dollard, Director of Services, Economic Development, Clare County Council, commented, “The LDMG was established to bring a coherent marketing focus to the Lough Derg Catchment area and to establish the Lough Derg brand nationally and internationally.”
He continued, “Supported by tourism stakeholders in the region, the Group has for a number of years delivered its own Action Plan to develop Lough Derg as a key destination for superb water-based activities combined with a range of very high quality cycling, walking, heritage, and culture and food experiences aimed at enticing the domestic and international visitor to stay longer. The development of the Lough Derg Blueway will further strengthen the tourism product on offer around Lough Derg.”
In late 2016, the LDMG was allocated €200,000 by the Department Of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs under the Rural Economic Development Zones (REDZ) initiative for the marketing, development and promotion of The Lough Derg Blueway, which includes the soon to be completed Lough Derg Canoe Trail. The project aims to build on the existing tourism and recreational infrastructure as well as improve economic activity surrounding the Blueway on Lough Derg by working with communities in the towns and villages in its hinterland.