Further positive news pertaining to the promotion of Athlone on both national and international platforms emanated this week with the allocation of significant funding by Fáilte Ireland to develop and enhance the regional growth town’s tourism potential.
The funding has been allocated as part of the ‘Destination Towns’ initiative launched earlier this year by the National Tourism Development Authority.
Confirming the news, Minister of State Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran stated that approximately €500,000 was afforded to Westmeath County Council in order to boost the attractiveness and tourism appeal of Athlone.
The Athlone project aims to improve both visibility and accessibility to Athlone Castle directly from Shannon Bridge, to provide visitors with a greater sense of place and connection with the heritage of our town. It includes the installation of outdoor way finding kiosks which will provide real-time information to visitors on ‘what’s on,’ visitor opening times and activities on offer, as well as the creation of a welcoming visitor orientation and performance space outside Athlone Castle
“The Fáilte Ireland scheme is part of the National Tourism Development Authority’s work to drive a better regional spread of overseas and domestic visitors and spend.”
“I am delighted that Athlone is to benefit from this new initiative and I want to thank Fáilte Ireland for providing the relevant funding to Westmeath County Council which will allow greater engagement with tourists and enhance their experience while visiting the town,” Minister Moran stated.
Echoing similar sentiments, Senator Gabrielle McFadden, noted that the welcome news will add to, what is presently, a fantastic tourism offering in Athlone.
“When I was elected Mayor of Athlone in 2013, I outlined a vision which I had for the town, including the concept of Destination Athlone, which has been very successful in putting my home-town on the map. This concept was further developed by the realisation of the Ireland’s Hidden Heartland brand which has Athlone at its beating heart and now this designation will build further upon this vision.
“It also integrates with a campaign that I led to have the west side of Athlone designated as a cultural and tourism quarter, which was allocated funding last year as part of an Urban Regeneration Initiative.”
“All of these developments recognise the great assets that we have here in Athlone and its environs which will drive tourism in the region, boosting tourist numbers, revenues and ultimately jobs,” Senator McFadden remarked.
Town Mayor, Cllr. Frankie Keena, was also effusive in his welcome for the allocated funding as the town strives to invest in further enhancing its visitor attraction potential.
“It is a great news story which further confirms the importance of Athlone as a tourist destination. We have amazing tourism jewels that are of huge attraction to the visiting tourist such as Athlone Castle, Luan Gallery, Old Rail Trail, heritage, recreation on the Shannon, golf courses, restaurants, pubs and excellent accommodation.
“The key to sustaining the town as a tourist destination is the warmth and friendliness of its people and I would like to sincerely thank the public for providing this welcome.
Additionally, I wish to thank Westmeath County Council’s Tourism Officer, Una Doris, Council management and engineers, Destination Athlone and Athlone Chamber for their unified work in submitting a comprehensive application for this funding to Fáilte Ireland and indeed to the National Tourism Development Authority for approving the allocation,” Cllr. Keena commented.