Minister of State and Longford-Westmeath TD, Kevin “Boxer” Moran (Ind ), has confirmed that funding has been secured for the development of a Lakelands tourism project.
The development of a tourism brand for the Lakelands will be part of a €33m government investment in new tourism products.
Announced in the Dáil on Wednesday morning by Minister for Tourism Shane Ross, this latest €33m investment for tourism product development brings the total amount available to almost €160m over the next three years. Fáilte Ireland’s Tourism Investment Strategy 2016-2022 lays out the funding streams and delivery mechanisms for this allocation. The Lakelands brand will sit alongside the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland’s Ancient East in Fáilte Ireland’s marketing strategy.
The Wild Atlantic Way branding campaign revitalised coastal communities in the Northwest, and helped attract record numbers of tourists to Ireland in 2016.
“It’s massive news for a region that has been left behind over the last number of years,” Minister Moran told the Athlone Advertiser. “And particularly for those businesses that have struggled to come through a recession. Tourism is blossoming in the midlands, and now we need to get together to market it, enhance it, and deliver on this whole new branding of the lakelands.”
Encompassing five counties and featuring over 800km of navigable waterways, the Lakelands region features an abundance of activities for tourists. “We have a lot to offer,” said Moran. “Hotels, restaurants, fishing, sports, golf clubs. You name it, we have it.”
Details of the branding strategy and a breakdown of exactly how much of the funding will be allocated to the Lakelands project will be revealed by Minister Ross at an event in Athlone Castle before Christmas, said Moran.
The news was also welcomed by Longford/Westmeath TD Peter Burke (FG ), who called the project a “bespoke and well-resourced strategy and brand for counties that need more support in attracting tourism.”