THE government is spending €10m on the Wild Atlantic Way this year, a 2,500-km driving route from Donegal to Cork aimed at attracting more visitors.
Launching the new initiative today, Junior Tourism Minister Michael Ring described it as “the world’s longest touring route”.
It stretches along the coast from Malin Head in Donegal to the Old Head of Kinsale taking in over 500 visitor attractions, as well as 53 Blue Flag beaches, 120 golf courses and 50 loop walks.
Mr Ring said it was already providing a hit in key overseas markets like Britain, the US, France and Germany.
“It has massive potential to bring more visitors and jobs to rural communities right along the western seaboard. That’s why we will soon be promoting it even further afield in places like Spain, Italy and the Netherlands,” he said.
The government has allocated €8m for the project this year with Failte Ireland spending another €2m on some 159 “Discovery Point” sites highlighting key attractions such as the Cliffs of Moher in Clare and Dursey Island in Co Cork.
Nearly 4,000 new signs are being erected along the route in time for the start of the tourist season, while a new app is also being developed to assist visitors on the route.
One of Germany and Austria’s largest tour operators Dertour said it was featuring the route on the cover of its current brochure because it would appeal to customers.
“Germans love the coastline and they are always looking for outstanding scenery which they wouldn’t find at home,” said Dino Steinkamp of Dertour.