Mayo towns could be in for tourism investment boost under new scheme

Up to €500,000 available to local authority

Two towns in Mayo could benefit to the tune of up to €500,000 between them through a new Fáilte Ireland scheme that was announced this week.

The new scheme being rolled out by the tourism promotion authority will see €15.5 million being invested through local authorities to boost the attractiveness and tourism appeal of up to 62 towns around the country - with a maximum of two towns per county being eligible for the scheme.

Through the scheme, every local authority will be able to bid for funding of between €250,000 and €500,000 to develop up to two towns in their area which have the potential to become a ‘destination town’ for tourists. Every local authority will be eligible for funding of up to €500,000 and will have at least one town but a maximum of two towns, which will benefit from this scheme. On the basis of an available investment of €500,000 per local authority (€250,000 minimum Fáilte Ireland investment per town identified ), a minimum of 31 projects and up to 62 projects stand to benefit under this scheme.

As Fáilte Ireland's research has consistently showed that attractive towns and cities are key motivators for overseas holidaymakers coming to Ireland, the new scheme will provide funding to Councils to enhance public spaces such as squares, streetscapes and markets in a way that will engage tourists and enhance their experience in key towns.

This could include spaces for food and craft markets, areas for town centre events, public art displays as well as orientation and signage to help visitors explore a town’s local heritage. The destination towns will need to demonstrate their capacity and appeal to attract more international visitors to stay overnight - a key driver of spending.

To be successful in their funding submissions, the local authorities will be expected to identify towns that meet a number of criteria including: (1 ) At least one visitor attraction of a scale that can drive tourism demand; (2 ) A range of things to see and do for two days - a town that hopes to attract overnight visitors needs to offer a variety of attractions, activities and entertainment options which can keep tourists engaged for more than 11 hours a day, including three hours in the evening; (3 ) A selection of accommodation – towns will need accommodation stock of at least 300 beds to become a seasonal destination town (and 1,000 beds to operate as a year-round destination ) or be a town that has the potential to grow its bed-stock in the future and (4 ) A range of food offerings to meet the visitor needs, including a range of options for light snacks, tea/coffee, lunch and dinner.

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