Fáilte Ireland’s has just issued new tourism guidelines suggesting that telling the story of Co. Mayo’s towns and turning them into compelling historic places of interest can encourage visitors to stay longer and spend more - and funding has now been approved for a number of Mayo towns to develop the iniative. The insight is contained in Fáilte Ireland’s new Historic Towns in Ireland Guidelines - a practical guide to how Irish towns can maximise their tourism potential.
Through case studies and international examples, the new guidelines provide towns with a DIY kit of simple steps to influence their visitors’ experience - including improving ease of access, visual impressions, human interaction and the range and quality of places to stay and things to do and see, such as providing a good selection of festivals, events and markets throughout the year.
Westport is included in the guidelines as an example of a town with an interesting story to tell and a copy of the guidelines is being sent out by Fáilte Ireland to all Local Authorities throughout the country to inform their own planning and development.
A 2007 UNESCO study identified cultural and natural tourism as one of the more rapidly growing international sectors of the tourism industry accounting for 40% of international tourism.
Fáilte Ireland has invested €2.5m in the development and enhancement of Historic Towns in Ireland with a view to developing Ireland as a destination with a unique cultural character and ‘sense of place’ that maximises its appeal to the lucrative culture and heritage seekers market. To date, 44 towns have been approved for funding under the initiative including Ballina, Westport and Killala in Co. Mayo.