Elected representatives in Ballina Municipal District made it clear that the development of tourism in the north Mayo region will be high on their agenda over the next five years.
At the second meeting of the new local government authority since eight new members were elected in May to represent the area, it was proposed that the dramatic coastline and unspoilt landscape of north Mayo could potentially rival one of Ireland’s most iconic attractions - the Ring of Kerry.
The Ring of Kerry, a circular driving route around Ireland’s southwest coast, has been attracting droves of visitors from all over the world for decades.
Councillor Gerry Ginty said the possibility for developing north Mayo’s tourism potential, with Ballina and the scenic quay area acting as a gateway town to the region, is “quite unlimited”.
“We have all of the attributes,” he said. “We have lakes, rivers, mountains, monasteries, history...there isn’t a town in Ireland that has what we have and we should make use of those natural, God-given, attractions.”
He said developing the tourism sector is the surest way to generate jobs in the region.
Chairperson of Ballina Municipal District, Seamus Weir, said a firm, long-term, tourism strategy needs to be put in place.
The now defunct Ballina Town Council had already committed €40,000 annually to promote tourism in the region and the new municipal district is expected to continue to support this committment.
Mayo Local Enterprise Office is also in the process of developing the first county-wide tourism strategy in 25 years.
Councillor John O’Hara said targeting UK visitors - a huge market - is imperative to the success of sector in Mayo.