It has been announced that Fáilte Ireland will invest €15.5million through the local authorities to boost the attractiveness and tourism appeal of up to 62 towns across the country.
Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin made the announcement today at an event in Dublin where officials from all local authorities have gathered to be briefed on the new investment scheme. 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.
Every local authority in the country will be able to bid for funding of between €250,000 and €500,000 to develop up to two towns in their area which have the potential to become a ‘destination town’ for tourists.
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.
The ‘destination towns’ will need to demonstrate their capacity and appeal to attract more international visitors to stay overnight - a key driver of spend. To be successful in their funding submissions, Councils will be expected to identify towns that have:
· At least one visitor attraction of scale that can drive tourism demand.
· A range of things to see and do for two days- A town that hopes to attract overnight visitors needs to offer a variety of attractions, activities and entertainment options which can keep tourists engaged for more than 11 hours a day, including three hours in the evening.
· A selection of accommodation – Towns will need accommodation stock of at least 300 beds to become a seasonal destination town (and 1,000 beds to operate as a year-round destination) or be a town that has the potential to grow its bedstock in the future.
· A range of food offerings to meet the visitor needs including a range of options for light snacks, tea/coffee, lunch and dinner.
Speaking at the launch, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin said, "I’m delighted to unveil Fáilte Ireland’s new investment scheme, which will provide a significant boost for towns across the country with untapped tourism potential. This scheme is a great opportunity for towns which aren’t fully active in the tourism industry to look at how their local economy can benefit from increased tourism activity as well as the physical development the scheme will bring."
She added, "I am pleased to see Fáilte Ireland working closely with local communities, councils and businesses to create a better regional spread of visitors and revenue, and today’s funding announcement marks a real step-change in the way we look at towns as drivers of tourism."