Tuesday 25 June 2019

€150m search for next generation of 'hero' Irish tourist attractions

Fáilte Ireland is looking to fund big ticket visitor attractions to rival Titanic Belfast, reports Pól Ó Conghaile

Titanic Belfast
Titanic Belfast
Pól Ó Conghaile

Pól Ó Conghaile

A €150 million investment in "transformative" Irish tourist attractions will be the largest of its type ever undertaken by Fáilte Ireland.

The funding will see grants of €2.5m and upwards awarded to individual projects that “transform the tourism landscape across the country”, according to its CEO Paul Kelly.

"We're looking for big hero, signature projects," he says.

"There's no maximum investment; we're looking for big projects like Titanic Belfast or the Guinness Storehouse... They could be from scratch, or things that are already in existence, but take a step-change to a whole new level."

Applications are now open for grants, with Fáilte Ireland providing up to 75pc of funding for the big ticket cultural and heritage proposals it deems most likely to immerse visitors, create jobs and drive regional revenue.

Developing "world-class attractions... will put Ireland on an even stronger footing in the international marketplace,” said Minister for Transport & Tourism, Shane Ross, who launched the 'Platforms for Growth' initiative today.

Bunratty Castle in Co Clare. Photo: Deposit
Bunratty Castle in Co Clare. Photo: Deposit

Interest from both the private sector and community/public groups is expected, with a lot of talk focusing on high-tech, "immersive" tourist experiences.

The €150 million funding pot, which falls under the Government's Project 2040 scheme, is part of a wider Fáilte Ireland capital investment programme currently developing 50 projects around the country.

These range from a €200,000 pontoon in Sligo to hi-tech ventures like The Vaults in Dublin and a 4-D experience at Bunratty Castle & Folk Park.

However, 'Platforms for Growth' marks a new step in that it specifically seeks star attractions that will draw visitors to a region of their own accord, Kelly says.

"It's about 'I want to go there because of that'... as opposed to, 'I'm in the area, now what is there to do?'" as he explains it.

Applications for the first round of funding, focusing on 'Immersive Heritage and Attractions', are open to July 17 at failteireland.ie/platformsforgrowth.

Read more:

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