Coillte to receive €550,000 in funding to boost tourism potential

Failte Ireland has announced a capital funding package of €550,000 for Coillte as part of a strategic partnership to boost the tourist experience at a number of the state owned forestry company’s sites.

Teaming up with Coillte, represents the latest in a series of partnerships that Failte Ireland is developing with key State agencies and bodies which own and manage attractions and sites that are considered to be of vital importance to tourism.

Similar partnerships are also in place with a number of other State agencies and bodies, including the Office of Public Works and the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

As part of this strategy, Failte Ireland is providing capital funding to projects of tourism value as well as offering its expertise in tourism development and marketing.

The €550,000 funding package will be used for the development of project feasibility and design for six separate projects.

These projects will include:

  • Avondale Forest Park Experience, Co. Wicklow.
  • Curraghchase Forest Park, Co. Limerick.
  • Ards Forest Park, Co. Donegal.
  • Wild Nephin and Ballycroy, Co. Mayo.
  • Coolaney Mountain Bike Centre, Co. Sligo.
  • Facilities/services for motorhomes at sites along the Wild Atlantic Way.

It is expected that significant further funding to progress these projects will be announced once the projects have been designed and costed.

Benefits of Developing the Sites

With two state agencies working alongside one another, combing both strengths and assets, the visitor experience should be significantly enhanced, according to the Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Patrick O’Donovan.

In an unpredictable trading environment, there can be no room for complacency in tourism and we have to continually go out there and battle with competing destinations to win more visitors to our shores.

Meanwhile, research has shown that visitors want to experience the Irish landscape up-close and personal, Failte Ireland’s Director of Strategic Development, Orla Carroll said.

“The wild and rugged environment of the Wild Atlantic Way and the lush, green and fertile landscapes of Ireland’s Ancient East are very strong magnets for visitors when choosing a holiday destination.

“These Coillte properties provide our visitors with an opportunity to really get back to nature and get in touch with Ireland.

“With the great potential that these sites have, this partnership will be a win-win for both agencies and provide tourism benefits for all the communities involved,” she said.

The state-owned forestry company is Ireland’s leading provider of outdoor recreational activities, according to Managing Director of Coillte Forest Gerard Murphy.

It provides over 2,000km of waymarked trails, 180 recreation sites and 12 forest parks and attracts 18m visits annually, he said.

Coillte’s forests, tracks and trails are ideal for lovers of the great outdoors, nature enthusiasts and those who want to explore Ireland’s rich cultural heritage, which is woven into the fabric of the forests.

The company believes it has the facilities and the resources to attract even more visitors with the help of Failte Ireland, Murphy said.