Fáilte Ireland’s chairperson, Paul Carty, together with the senior management team and the entire Authority (Board) of Fáilte Ireland – the National Tourism Development Authority – gathered in the Landmark Hotel, Carrick-On-Shannon on Thursday 30th March, for the organisation’s quarterly Authority meeting.
A number of businesses and local authority representatives from Cavan, Leitrim and Roscommon in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands were invited to brief the Authority members on their season to date and their future business plans.
Fáilte Ireland’s Authority members also had the opportunity to see first-hand Fáilte Ireland’s investment brought to life at the National Famine Museum at Strokestown Park House and Gardens which was developed by the Irish Heritage Trust, in partnership with Fáilte Ireland and owners of the property Westward Holdings.
The new museum received a Fáilte Ireland grant of €3.9m and is one of the largest ever investments in a visitor attraction in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands. Fáilte Ireland’s analysis shows the museum is expected to attract 115,000 visitors annually, generating an additional €25m for the local economy within the ten years of opening post investment.
In a busy week for Fáilte Ireland, chief executive Paul Kelly also told and Oireachtas Committee on Tourism that a lack of tourist accommodation – with 32% of all registered tourism bed stock outside of Dublin now being contracted to the State and not available to tourists – and lack of available hire cars are challenging the viability of rural tourism. The cost to the non-accommodation tourism sector – attractions etc – could be over €1.1bn, in terms of lost revenue, this year alone.
“We are optimistic that this season will be strong, but I have to reiterate that the long-term wellbeing of our tourism economy and in particular the rural communities that rely on it, desperately need as much tourism accommodation stock as possible returned to tourism as quickly as possible and for the pre-2019 VAT on VRT Repayment Scheme to be re-instated,” Mr Kelly said.