Fáilte Ireland has today, 10 June, announced a major boost for tourism with a €73 million investment in new world-class visitor experiences. The large-scale attractions are in counties Cavan, Donegal, Dublin and Mayo.
These projects were chosen as the ones having the most potential to increase employment, drive visitors to the regions and lengthen the tourism season beyond the summer.
Most Significant Investment in Visitor Attractions
It is expected that the investment in these projects will create 8,000 direct and indirect jobs over the next ten years. The investment will generate over €290 million from domestic and international visitors. Fáilte Ireland’s economic analysis shows every €1million spent by tourists helps to supports 27 jobs in the Irish tourism sector.
Minster Catherine Martin described the announcement as “the most significant investment in visitor attractions ever undertaken by Fáilte Ireland that will have far-reaching national and regional economic benefits.”
Today’s announcement is the culmination of a highly competitive application process which began in 2019. It includes a total match funding of €29million from public and private project partners bringing the total investment to €73million.
Platforms for Growth Investment Grants Scheme
Paul Kelly, CEO of Fáilte Ireland said, “Platforms for Growth Investment Grants Scheme for Immersive Heritage and Cultural Attractions” the four new and strategically important large-scale visitor attractions will unlock regional dispersal of visitors and extend the tourism season in these regions beyond the traditional summer months.
The successful projects will cater for all tastes. They range from a UNESCO Global Geopark in the border county of Cavan to a Fort perched on a hilltop in Donegal overlooking the Wild Atlantic Way. In Dublin a state-of-the-art flight simulator will take visitors on a journey through past and present Ireland. The reimagining and rewilding of the vast Westport House estate in Mayo, will be offering uplifting nature-based experiences in the West.
Platforms for Growth (PFG) is one of a number of investment mechanisms that Fáilte Ireland has developed in recent years to drive sustainable development of the tourism sector leading to job creation and revenue growth. PFG is funded under the Government’s Project Ireland 2040 strategy.
The unique attractions that have been offered Fáilte Ireland investment funding are:
- Shannon Pot and Cavan Burren Park, Blacklion, Co. Cavan – €4.8million Fáilte Ireland investment is a walkway way over the park with accessibility for all.
- Fort Dunree and Head, Buncrana, Co. Donegal – €9.3million Fáilte Ireland investment. Stand over the crashing waves of the Wild Atlantic Way in a glass case.
- ‘This is Ireland’ North City Centre, Dublin 1 – €10million Fáilte Ireland investment in a flight simulator experience. Guests will fly over Ireland in a virtual reality journey through Ireland’s past and present.
- Westport House Estate & Gardens, Westport, Co. Mayo –€20.2million Fáilte Ireland investment and will introduce the Grace O’Malley Experience and a rewilding and reimagining of this extensive estate.
Paul Kelly, CEO of Fáilte Ireland added: “driving regional tourism growth has always been a key priority for Fáilte Ireland but it is now more important than ever as we rebuild the sector and recover from the devastation of Covid19. The aim of the Platforms for Growth 1 funding scheme is to grow Ireland’s stock of large-scale visitor attractions to appeal to both domestic and international visitors.
The standard of applications received for this Scheme was incredibly high and we are encouraged by the level of innovation and creativity demonstrated. The four awarded projects are truly best-in-class. They are diverse, engaging and unique and will help visitors connect with Ireland and bring the country’s vibrant culture, heritage and people to life.”
Fáilte Ireland’s approach to investments in attractions is underpinned by a requirement of operators to deliver international best practice standards. The projects awarded funding under Platforms for Growth 1 were strategically selected under strict eligibility criteria* that displayed the greatest potential for economic impact in their region.
They successfully demonstrated substantial capacity to drive visitors to the area; increase employment; lengthen the tourist season; a commitment to operate under the highest international commercial standards for visitor attractions; and strengthen the portfolio of Irish visitor experiences for domestic and international audiences.