Tourism in coastal counties, including Donegal, could be worth up to 2 billion to the economy with associated employment sustained locally in hospitality and tourism services probably in the region of 80,000 jobs, according to Fáilte Ireland CEO Shaun Quinn who was speaking at a major Conference, Our Ocean Wealth, which was held in Dublin Castle.

Speaking on the development of tourism in marine regions, Mr Quinn said, “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.”

Mr Quinn added that Ireland’s coastal regions had exactly the characteristics and assets which appealed to those market segments which had the most potential for growth. He emphasised:

“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 and 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”.

Mr Quinn told the conference that the initial response to the project has been very encouraging. Tour operators, local authorities, business people and local residents – all along the route, which goes from Donegal to Cork, have expressed an interest in becoming involved and in maximising the opportunity presented by this development, and importantly Fáilte Ireland has already noticed that this new tourism offering is resonating and gaining traction in overseas markets and at home.

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