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Fáilte Ireland’s industry briefing was ‘disappointing’ for West Cork tourism

March 4th, 2024 6:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

A graphic showing the most popular tourism spots in 2017 and 2019. (Source: Fáilte Ireland)

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THE chief executive of the Irish Self Catering Federation has said that Fáilte Ireland’s industry briefing for 2024 left her disappointed that there were no funding supports announced for West Cork, despite the high numbers of overseas visitors to the area.

The tourism body said its three main issues of concern were accommodation capacity, climate change and sustainability, and cost competitiveness, said Ms Ní Mhurchú, an accommodation provider based in Durrus.

‘There is a lack of capacity in the accommodation sector, with many hotels and self-catering group schemes contracted to the government,’ she said.

‘Logic would expect that existing self-catering businesses would be supported and protected then, but this is not the case,’ she told The Southern Star this week.

‘Failte Ireland’s focus is very much on developing the hotels sector, despite the seasonal nature of business for many hotels outside the major cities,’ she added.

‘Sustainability supports with a climate action plan and the employer excellence programme were also aimed at supporting hotels.’

Ms Ní Mhurchú said that the Register for Short Term Rental (STR) Bill, a major concern for her sector, and will be managed by Failte Ireland, was only mentioned in passing.

‘This will require all STR businesses to have a registration number displayed in all advertising for people staying for up to 21 nights. The presentation did not mention that another State agency – the Department of Housing – have not provided any planning clarity for existing STR businesses,’ she noted.

She added that data from the tourism agency showed that inbound tour operators, hotels and visitor attractions did well in 2023, while the overall profitability was poorest for food and drink and activity providers.

There was a shocking 56% drop in business for activity providers between 2023 and 2022, the tourism agency revealed – despite the agency having regularly pointed out that there has been a major shift in international tourism towards ‘experience’ holidays.

A shocking drop-off of 56% in business for activity providers in 2023. (Source: Fáilte Ireland)


Failte Ireland is focused on developing an ‘experience’ plan for West Cork and Kenmare, which they announced in Rosscarbery at the end of 2023.

‘This should lead to funding of accommodation, visitor attractions and outdoor coastal sports facilities, making Ireland more attractive to tourists, but none of the funding announced is earmarked for West Cork,’ noted Ms Ní Mhurchú, despite the high number of visitors to the region.

‘Failte Ireland’s report is a disappointing prospect for rural Ireland, especially West Cork. There needs to be more support for family businesses, as well as the larger tourism businesses,’ she said.

‘The warm presentations of Ruth Andrews as incoming chair of Failte Ireland and Alice Mansergh, chief executive, Tourism Ireland were welcome. But overall Fáilte Ireland has no clear focus on how to support any type of accommodation development, apart from hotels,’ she added.

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