Question to the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Dr Leo Varadkar, TD)
To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide further details on the additional funds for tourism capital provided in Budget 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Jerry Buttimer.
For WRITTEN answer on Thursday, 7th November, 2013.
I was pleased to welcome the announcement in Budget 2014 of an additional €8 million in capital investment for the Wild Atlantic Way.
The Wild Atlantic Way is set to be Ireland’s first long-distance touring route, stretching along the Atlantic coast from Donegal to West Cork. It is planned to develop it into an attraction of international scale, on a par with the Garden Route in South Africa or the Great Ocean Road in Australia, that will achieve greater visibility for the west coast of Ireland in overseas tourist markets. It will be a central feature of our overseas promotion efforts through Tourism Ireland in 2014, as we bring Ireland’s magnificent scenery to the world, and I understand the overseas tourist trade has already given the product a strong endorsement.
I am informed that this funding will ensure the completion of route signage, provide for the development and enhancement of discovery points on the route as well as other infrastructural improvements.
While my Department provides the capital funding for investment in tourism product such as the Wild Atlantic Way, it is not directly involved in developing or managing such product. The development of the Wild Atlantic Way is an operational matter for Fáilte Ireland and I have referred the Deputy’s question to the agency for further information in relation to its future development. Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.
Reply from Failte Ireland:
88 – 95 Amiens Street,
19 November 2013
Deputy Jerry Buttimer, T.D.,
Dear Deputy Buttimer
Ref No: 47462/13 Proof: 256
Your parliamentary question below has been referred to Fáilte Ireland for reply.
To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide further details on the additional funds for tourism capital provided in Budget 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
The route of the Wild Atlantic Way, which is 2,500km long and stretches from the Inishowen Peninsula in Donegal to Kinsale in Co. Cork, has been finalised and was unveiled in April 2013.
The overall objective of the project is to raise visitor numbers to the Atlantic coast in general so we expect the entire region to benefit from this project. Over the coming years, looped itineraries will be developed which will offer visitors further options for exploring the surrounding areas. It is important to bear in mind that this route is primarily a means of encouraging visitors to travel first of all to the west of Ireland, and secondly to the particular destinations along the west coast.
As you are aware, €8m was allocated to the Wild Atlantic Way for capital works in Budget 2014. This funding will ensure the completion of route and directional signage, provide for the development and enhancement of 159 Discovery Points on the route as well as other infrastructural improvements.
The provision of the road signage for the route will be completed by the end of March 2014. Unfortunately, a detailed funding programme has not yet been devised for the Discovery Points so it is not possible at this stage to specify how much might be available.
Fáilte Ireland is currently undertaking a Strategic Environmental Assessment and an Appropriate Assessment on all of the Discovery Points and these assessments must be completed before detailed designs and specifications for the Discovery Points can be prepared.
We are also currently working with each of the Local Authorities in identifying immediate repair and maintenance works that are necessary at each of the 159 Discovery Points, most of which are existing viewing points, and to what extent such repairs can be undertaken in advance of the launch of the Wild Atlantic Way next March.
Fáilte Ireland is responsible for marketing the Wild Atlantic Way to the domestic market, in accordance with their core functions, while Tourism Ireland is responsible for marketing the route to the overseas tourist markets. Both bodies are collaborating on the development of a concerted marketing strategy for the Wild Atlantic Way.
The marketing of the Wild Atlantic Way will complement any marketing undertaken by local communities of their own areas. A full range of marketing collateral will be produced in time for the launch of the project in March 2014, which will include on-line material as well as maps, brochures and other material which the visitor would expect to find at their fingertips.
Full details of the project, including the route identification report and maps are available at: http://www.failteireland.ie/wildatlanticway
Parliamentary Affairs/Information Management Unit