PLANS for an ‘outdoor pursuits hub’ in West Cork are progressing, according to Deputy Jim Daly, Cork South West Fine Gael TD.
Deputy Daly says he is confident his plans for a ‘West Cork Way’ will get the green light in the near future.
‘Since I launched my ‘outdoor pursuits hub’ strategy for West Cork in January, I have received overwhelming support from the local authority, the tourism agencies and the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe,’ he said.
He said a conference which he organised in Inchydoney in March took the issue seriously. ‘It was the first time to have a joined up think-in between all the stake holders, in an effort to market West Cork abroad. I have also been delighted with the phenomenal public interest in this project,’ he told The Southern Star.
‘The Council’s tourism section informed me this week that they are now developing a countywide walking and cycling policy, which will be the first policy developed under the current tourism strategic policy committee (SPC). An outline of this policy will hopefully be ready to be presented to members of the committee by July end.’
Mr Daly also confirmed that a Tourism Strategy Group has been established between Fáilte Ireland and the chief executives of both Cork County and City Councils for the first time ever, in a drive to co-ordinate a concentrated focused approach at attracting more visitors to County Cork.
Mr Daly said he is hoping to identify a walking trail from Cork Airport to the Mizen Head, which he is currently labelling the ‘West Cork Way’.
This consists of identifying a walking route that may be along local and regional roads, and perhaps private land in some cases, with the consent of the owners. ‘The only infrastructure I propose to start with is signage of the route and signage for safety purposes,’ he said.
‘Annual improvements and further developments can be carried out on an ongoing basis once the route is identified. The trail should travel through local villages, scenic areas and identify the hospitality services along the way. It should also allow for incorporation of new services along the route in time to come, such as camping sites and other resting facilities for walkers to take a break,’ he pointed out.
And he said that he has asked the Planning Policy Unit (PPU) of Cork County Council to consider this concept in the local area plan review which is to be carried out later this year. ‘I firmly believe there is a large market for inbound walking holidays and West Cork is a jewel in the crown in relation what it can offer such holiday makers. I am really looking forward to this initiative progressing in the coming months,’ he added.