Thursday 21 September 2017

Ireland gets two new tourist routes as record year marked

Wild Atlantic Ways

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland and Tourism Minister Patrick O’Donovan, at Tourism Ireland’s end-of-year review in Dublin. Photo: Naoise Culhane
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland and Tourism Minister Patrick O’Donovan, at Tourism Ireland’s end-of-year review in Dublin. Photo: Naoise Culhane

Alan O'Keeffe

Two new touring routes, branching off the Wild Atlantic Way, were unveiled by Junior Tourism Minister Patrick O'Donovan yesterday as another record year for Irish tourism was reported.

The Shannon Estuary Drive and the Burren Drive are the first in a series of routes to be developed adjacent to the successful Wild Atlantic Way, with more planned for next year.

Fáilte Ireland's director of strategic development Orla Carroll said: "We are working closely with both Clare and Limerick local authorities and will be developing appropriate navigation aids and viewing points."

The Burren Drive was located in an established tourist area which was starting to be challenged with congestion during the peak season, she said. The development of the Burren Drive would present a significant opportunity to alleviate congestion and give visitors new experiences, Ms Carroll added.

The Shannon Estuary Drive provided a significant opportunity for Limerick and Ennis, as gateway towns to the Wild Atlantic Way, and would open up the region's inland hinterland, she said.

Tourism Ireland chief executive Niall Gibbons said 2016 was the best year ever for tourism. Some 10.5 million people have visited the island of Ireland so far this year, with 8.3 million people visiting the Republic in the first 10 months. Tourists spent €3.6bn in the first nine months of this year.

Irish Independent

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