TOURISM operators along the north Kerry coastline are joining forces to ensure the proposed Wild Atlantic Way tourist route goes along the region's seaboard.
The Wild Atlantic Way is being launched in Mayo next year and will be rolled out to Kerry in 2014. Organisers Fáilte Ireland believe the route, running along the west coast of Ireland, will attract significantly more visitors to the area.
However, there have been major fears among tourist operators in north Kerry that interests in Clare and Limerick will seek to bring the route inland, through Limerick City and to Killarney via Adare. One group of north Kerry people is working closely with colleagues in West Clare to ensure it comes exactly where it is designed to go - along the Atlantic coast.
And yet another group - the North Kerry Wild Atlantic Way committee - has been established following a public meeting in Ballybunion on the heated issue.
North Kerry hoteliers are coming together under the group to promote the tourist capacity in the area. The group was set up amid even more localised concerns that Ballybunion might be bypassed in favour of Listowel.
"There are now 500 bednights between Ballybunion Golf Hotel, the Promenade Hotel in Ballybunion, the White Sands in Ballyheigue, Banna Beach Hotel and Ballyroe Heights Hotel, showing the massive capacity of the route to cater for tourists," Destination Ballybunion chairman David Walsh said.
"We are now calling on everybody to come on board as we prepare a submission for Fáilte Ireland ensuring the route is brought along the Atlantic coast, through Ballybunion, Kerry Head, Ballyheigue and Ardfert. If this area isn't geared up for it then we would ask what area is?"