LIMERICK can look forward to finally being linked up with the hugely successful Wild Atlantic Way, thanks to a new tourism strategy.
It is hoped that the strategy will attract over a million visitors and generate €300 million to the local economy.
“I am delighted to announce that Fáilte Ireland will examine, as part of the Wild Atlantic Way strategy for 2015 to 2019, the development of a series of loops off the Wild Atlantic Way to encourage greater spread of visitors, alleviate pressure from high traffic areas and present complementary visitor experiences,” said Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Patrick O’Donovan.
“Fáilte Ireland will identify opportunities to present the region’s cultural and sporting heritage to visitors, in line with key strategic areas such as the Wild Atlantic Way and Business Tourism and Events,” he added.
There are currently 709,000 combined overseas and domestic visitors to Limerick annually, generating €206m in revenue for the local economy, according to the Limerick minister.
Tourism is a large employment sector in Limerick, with approximately 8,000 people at work in over 850 enterprises in the tourism industry.
“The aim of this tourism strategy is to consistently grow annual tourism visitor numbers to over one million for Limerick and increase visitor revenue to over €300m per annum,” he said.
“We want to make Limerick a ‘must-visit’ destination for both domestic and international visitors.
“We look forward to the implementation of the strategy in the coming years which will maximise Limerick’s potential as a tourism destination, thereby supporting job creation, investment opportunities, and economic growth,” he added.
With the strategy, Minister O’Donovan hopes to connect to national brands, increase visitor stay, address seasonality issues, and work with Shannon Airport as well as all tourism trade partners on marketing channels.
He also hopes that it will help to develop new tourism products, to deliver new festivals and events, and to help Limerick to exploit all its tourism assets, particularly the River Shannon.
"Other initiatives will include enhancing the existing Great Southern Trail by extending the Greenway from Rathkeale to Ballinagrane,” he added.
Earlier this year, Minister O’Donovan launched the Shannon Estuary Drive, a loop around the estuary for tourists already travelling the Wild Atlantic Way.
The new tourism strategy, which aims to offer visitors a choice of loop roads along the Wild Atlantic Way, should further connect the city with the coastal route.