12 December 2019
By Bryan Smyth
Cork City and Bantry will be allocated significant funding by Fáilte Ireland to develop their potential as tourism ‘destination towns’.
The funding has been allocated through Cork City Council and Cork County Council as part of the €15.5million ‘Destination Towns’ initiative launched earlier this year by the National Tourism Development Authority.
The Destination Towns project in Cork City will develop the ’quarters’ concept to present visitors with bite-size thematic experiences and give a greater sense of place and understanding of the city’s maritime character. The project will include orientation and signage incorporating interpretation, storytelling and animation, as well as walking and cycling distances to encourage greater exploration of the city on foot and by bike.
The Destination Town project in Bantry will enhance the attractiveness of Wolf Tone Square to increase visitors and dwell time in the town. The project will include improved orientation from surrounding attractions such as the Blueway, Bantry House and Gardens and the pier to the square, an interactive tourism information kiosk and an interpretation hub to tell the stories of the area.
The process of identifying the towns that receive funding through the Destination Towns scheme commenced in mid-2019 and was led by the Local Authorities in consultation with Fáilte Ireland.
Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin T.D. confirmed that every county in Ireland will benefit and the first round of allocations, including Cork City and Bantry, will take place from January.
The Fáilte Ireland scheme is part of the National Tourism Development Authority’s work to drive a better regional spread of overseas and domestic visitors and spend.
Through the scheme1, which was launched earlier this year, every Local Authority in the country had the opportunity to bid for funding of up to €500,000 to develop a town in the county to enable it to improve its tourism offering and make itself more attractive to visitors. The Local Authorities will also provide funding for their projects.
With Fáilte Ireland research consistently showing that attractive towns and cities are key motivators for overseas holidaymakers coming to Ireland2, the new scheme will provide funding to Councils to enhance public spaces such as squares, streetscapes and markets in a way that will engage tourists and enhance their experience in key towns.
This could include spaces for food and craft markets, areas for town centre events, public art displays as well as orientation and signage to help visitors explore a town’s local heritage.
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross T.D., said:
“Tourism’s importance as an economic driver for Ireland cannot be overstated. It sustains 260,000 jobs across the country and generates revenue in communities nationwide. Initiatives like Destination Towns, funded through the Government’s Project Ireland 2040, is a great example of how investing in infrastructure can deliver long-term economic benefits for local communities.”
Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin T.D., said:
“The investment awarded to the towns across Ireland reinforces the Government and Fáilte Ireland’s commitment to growing the tourism sector and the benefits it brings to regions throughout Ireland. I’m delighted to see Fáilte Ireland and the Local Authorities continuing to work hand-in-glove to ensure towns nationwide can fulfil their tourism potential.”
Fáilte Ireland’s CEO Paul Kelly said:
“The towns which reap the greatest benefits from tourism and schemes like Destination Towns are those where all local tourism players work together – from Local Authorities and businesses to the communities themselves, each complementing another’s efforts to create a full and appealing offering for their area. A core focus of Fáilte Ireland’s work is to drive a greater regional spread of visitors and revenue across the country. Initiatives like our Destination Towns scheme are critical in doing this by boosting the tourism appeal of destinations across Ireland. We’re delighted with the support from the Local Authorities and we would like to thank them for their work in putting forward such compelling cases for investment.”
Welcoming the scheme, Ann Doherty, Chair of the County and City Management Association EECC Committee, and CEO of Cork City Council, added:
“The concept behind Destination Towns goes to the heart of what the local authorities are about: making great places to live, work and visit. The initiative provides a really practical focus to help us to plan strategically for the infrastructure, attractions and public realm improvements that will appeal to visitors and unlock or enhance our tourism offering, including in collaboration with local business and communities.”