WE could not leave 2014 without saluting the success of the Wild Atlantic Way concept that put the western side of the country well and truly back on the tourism map this past year. While Dublin has been attracting the biggest tourism numbers in recent years, something imaginative was needed to get more people to visit places beyond The Pale and the marketing of the Wild Atlantic Way tourism route from Donegal down the west coast to West Cork has already paid dividends.
With the fine summer we had, many Irish people took the opportunity to explore parts of the Wild Atlantic Way and this provided places such as West Cork with a welcome economic boost. It is great to see an extra €850,000 being allocated to promote it online and this should help grow its popularity internationally.
There was an overall €400m increase in overseas earnings in 2014, which was the biggest increase in a decade. Some 5,000 tourism jobs were created and 8,000 more are anticipated in 2015, while it is also good to note that Ireland’s value for money ratings have doubled in the past five years.
Truly, a praiseworthy achievement.