PROVIDING tourists with a unique ‘West Cork Tourism Experience’ was one of the many ideas aired at a Cork County Council breakfast briefing in Rosscarbery.
The second in a series of similar briefings took place recently in The Celtic Ross Hotel, and focused on the Municipal Districts of Bandon/ Kinsale and West Cork.
According to county mayor Cllr Seamus McGrath, the aim of the briefing was to engage with the key stakeholders in the region and to showcase how the Council is seeking public engagement for future delivery.
With tourism being a key factor for West Cork, Council chief executive Tim Lucey, himself a West Cork man, spoke proudly of the success of the Council in this sector.
‘We have, together with Cork City Council, jointly commissioned the development of the first ever Tourism Strategy for Cork supported by Fáilte Ireland, Tourism Ireland and relevant industry stakeholders,’ he told the packed conference room.
Mr Lucey said that the objective of the strategy is to maximise the economic return from tourism in Cork in terms of increasing domestic and overseas visitor numbers, from the current 2.3m to 2.8m, and to have an associated increase in visitor spend from the current €700m to €865m.
‘Cork currently accounts for 17.5% of all overseas visitors to Ireland which we hope to increase to 25% during the lifetime of the strategy,’ he said.
‘This will be achieved by maximising Cork’s potential as a tourism destination within Fáilte Ireland’s national tourism brands of the Wild Atlantic Way in conjunction with all the tourism stakeholders and providing clarity and awareness of what Cork has to offer the visitor.’
The meeting also covered a wide variety of Council operations, from critical road infrastructure to housing, from tourism to economic development together with the Local Area Plans, which are currently open for submissions.
Mr Lucey provided key details of the perspective of West Cork, while focusing on economic development, tourism promotion and community involvement all aimed at maximising government support and conditions which are key to the success of the Council.
‘By working with people who know what works for their area, we can prioritisem’ he pointed out.
‘Such priorities allow for a focused, plan led, evidence-based approach to guide the use of the funds for job creation and sustainable development,’ said Mr Lucey.