15th October

Major growth potential for €2bn coastal tourism sector

Tourism in coastal counties could be worth up to €2bn to the economy with associated employment sustained locally in hospitality and tourism in the region of 80,000 jobs, according to Fáilte Ireland CEO Shaun Quinn who was speaking at Our Ocean Wealth conference in Dublin Castle on Wednesday.

The conference was the first annual review of progress in implementing the Government’s 2012 publication: Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth: An Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland.


Inisbofin (Island of the White Cow) Co Galway. Photo Gillian Mills

The marine sector is identified as an important pillar to national recovery and a key driver for developing the sector and driving economic growth.

 “The current dividend from tourism in marine areas is significant but it’s also an area of considerable potential for further growth.

"And here I mean the possibility of real cumulative growth - from overseas markets with much needed increases in foreign earnings - rather than simply moving leisure euros from Rathfarnham to Rathmullan or from Wicklow to Westport," he said. 

He added that Ireland’s coastal regions had the exact characteristics and assets that appealed to market segments with the most potential for growth:

“Our natural heritage, whether landscapes or seascapes, can offer many of the experiences sought by those discerning target market segments most likely to want a holiday in Ireland.

"That is where future growth lies but packaging and presenting our offering in a cluttered and noisy marketplace and standing out isn’t easy.

“We believe that for a relatively small destination like Ireland to be successful, we must identify and develop ambitious projects of scale and singularity as a necessary first step. That is why we developed the concept of the Wild Atlantic Way - the longest themed touring route in the world – which evolved from our search for something of scale and singularity”.

And he added that the initial response to the project was very encouraging.

"Tour operators, local authorities, business people and local residents – all along the route have expressed an interest in becoming involved and in maximising the opportunity presented by this development."

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