Programme for Government commits to building on the success of the Wild Atlantic Way
A proposed Malin Head to Kinsale walking route will boost tourism in nine coastal counties along the Wild Atlantic Way and help communities rebuild after the COVID-19 pandemic.
The walking route, which features in the Programme for Government, has received the backing of 17 Fine Gael TDs, Senators and MEPs through whose constituencies it would wind along the Western seaboard.
The 17 are: Ministers, Brendan Griffin, Joe McHugh, Patrick O’Donovan and Ciaran Cannon; Deputies, Kieran O’Donnell, Joe Carey, Hildegarde Naughton, Alan Dillon and Frank Feighan; Senators, Tim Lombard, Martin Conway, Seán Kyne and Paddy Burke; and four MEPs, Mairead McGuinness, Maria Walsh, Deirdre Clune and Seán Kelly.
They said: “The success of the Wild Atlantic Way has demonstrated the potential for promoting Ireland as a clean, green holiday destination.
“We have seen the results of this immensely successful tourism project since it was launched by Fine Gael in Government back in 2014. This route offers so much in terms of vibrancy and diversity to international visitors as well as to our own domestic tourists.
“Communities across the Western seaboard who rely so much on tourism, will be pleased to hear the Programme for Government commits to building on the success of the Wild Atlantic Way to develop and strengthen Ireland’s image as an outdoor activity holiday destination to domestic and international markets,” the 17 Fine Gael representatives said.
“The document commits the next government to initiating a consultation process with communities along the entire Wild Atlantic Way, with a view to creating a continuous walking route from Malin Head to Kinsale. This offers huge potential for tourism throughout Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Clare, Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal.
“Tourism is our country’s largest indigenous employer and it is so important we help those who have lost jobs due to COVID-19. The outgoing Government has established a Tourism Recovery Taskforce, made up of leaders from varying sections of the industry, who will work together to deal with the many challenges ahead in a dynamic and innovative manner.
“The Programme for Government also commits to the development of an integrated national greenways strategy. Greenways were prioritised in the Fine Gael election manifesto, as was the need to invest in Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland, to improve our overall offering as a top quality and value-for-money destination.
“Fine Gael’s focus on tourism in the last two governments resulted in huge increases in visitor numbers and was a major driver of economic success and job creation as we worked our way out of the last recession.
“The tourism policy launched in 2015 targeted overseas revenue of €5 billion (in real terms) by 2025, together with 10 million overseas visitors and employment of 250,000 in the sector. These targets were achieved seven years early in 2018, and we have built upon that success since then.
“Our focus then was to create jobs all over the country, particularly in towns and rural areas where they were needed most. In the wake of COVID-19 we will need to bring that focus to this hard hit sector once again.
“Fine Gael will ensure that tourism continues to be a major driver of economic growth in Ireland and we will continue to develop the Wild Atlantic Way which will benefit communities all along the Western seaboard,” they said.