Sustainable tourism key to Failte Ireland’s vision for Ireland’s Ancient East and Wicklow

The pressing need for sustainable tourism is on the agenda as Fáilte Ireland launch a new Regional Tourism Development Strategy for 2023-2027 for Ireland’s Ancient East, which includes County Wicklow.

The new strategy is one of four that outline a vision for tourism and contain a five-year framework for sustainable tourism development across each of Fáilte Ireland’s four regional brands – The Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s Ancient East, Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands and Dublin.

Ireland’s Ancient East spreads from Cobh to Carlingford, with Bray, Greystones and the Wicklow Mountains at its centre, and the aim of the new strategy is to capitalise on the uniqueness of each brand and develop new and enhanced visitor experiences, building greater capacity and capability into the industry, and provide a clear strategy for attracting visitors that will stay longer and spend more.

For Ireland’s Ancient East, this means growing tourism revenue at a faster rate relative to the established tourism hotspots nationally, while staying within existing infrastructural and environmental capacities.

Commenting on the impact of the initiative for the region, Justine Carey, Manager of Ireland’s Ancient East at Fáilte Ireland, said, “Since its launch in 2015, the Ireland’s Ancient East brand has had significant impact across the region, with visitor numbers and revenue continuing to grow at a strong rate.

“There is still plenty of opportunity for further economic growth which is why the Ireland’s Ancient East Regional Tourism Development Strategy has been devised. We must continue to look for new ways to innovate, improve and enhance our tourism offering for our domestic and international visitors. This strategy sets out to unlock the commercial potential of Ireland’s Ancient East while ensuring development is sustainable, so the socio-economic benefits of tourism are seen and felt in communities and businesses across the region.”

Commenting on the launch of the strategies, Tourism Minister Catherine Martin said: “With the support of Government and my department, the cooperation of Local Authorities, the tourism industry and local communities, these strategies will play a key role in improving the social, cultural and economic contribution of tourism across Ireland’s regions. Tourism is a significant economic sector in Ireland, and these strategies will support the development of tourism across all four of Fáilte Ireland’s regional brands, bringing new attractions and experiences for visitors and creating new opportunities for communities and businesses across the country.”

The Regional Tourism Development Strategies will be activated across every region through a series of local area action plans, referred to as Destination and Experience Development Plans (DEDPs). Over the course of this strategy, in addition to three DEDPs that already exist in Ireland’s Ancient East, Fáilte Ireland will prepare a further 8 DEDPs for destinations within the region. Fáilte Ireland’s commitment is for every part of the country to have a detailed tourism development action plan created in partnership with local stakeholders.

Fáilte Ireland was recently appointed as a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Champion and The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals will inform the ongoing implementation of Fáilte Ireland’s four new Regional Tourism Development Strategies.

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