Salthill must be designated "the half way point in the Wild Atlantic Way" and be developed as a major Wild Atlantic Way base for tourists, with the defunct tourist office "utilised" as an interpretive centre.
This is the view of Fine Gael Galway city councillor Pearce Flannery, who is calling on Fáilte Ireland "to use some initiative" in promoting and developing the Wild Atlantic Way. “This is an immense opportunity to revitalise Salthill, and Fáílte Ireland are not taking advantage of the possibilities," he said.
According to the councillor, who made his comments at a business seminar held by the Pragmatica Organisation, Fáilte Ireland figures reveal that only seven per cent of tourists are aware of the Wild Atlantic Way. While the tourist body intends to raise that figure to 20 per cent over the coming year, Cllr Flannery says Salthill "can and should be part of this growth".
He is calling for the "neglected" and "defunct" tourist office in Salthill to be utilised as a Wild Atlantic Way interpretive centre, and he has been in contact with the Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs and Natural Resources, Seán Kyne, about "generating incentives to upgrade the derelict buildings in the locality and enhance the amenity value of the area and the utility for tourists of Salthill.”
Cllr Flannery says this is "a once in a lifetime opportunity" to "avail of the tremendous and growing numbers of tourists" that will ensure "the continued development of Salthill for years to come”.
Labour city councillor Niall McNelis has also called for greater effort to be put into the promotion of the Wild Atlantic Way. He described the current figures "disappointing" and has called for free WiFi hot spots to be included along the route.
"This would lead to social media use along the route being maximised," hesaid. "A visit to Dogs Bay in Clifden or watching sun go down in Salthill could be very easily shared on Facebook or Instagram, meaning immediate promotion for the area."