McGuinness praises efforts to promote sustainable tourism
MEP Mairead McGuinness gave a resounding endorsement to the efforts being made to promote sustainable tourism in this area.
She welcomed Dundalk Chamber of Commerce's initiative in hosting the conference, praising the presentations and the very practical examples of what works.
The Louth-born politician explained how her post takes her around the large constituency and helps her to appreciate the 'amazing' offering which Ireland has.
This isn't highlighted enough, she believed, and people need to get that good news story out there.
There is 'an amazing sense of place' and beautiful places to see in Ireland, as well as activities for people to do, but everyone involved in the tourism industry needed to work to bring the different elements together. The beauty of the landscape is 'our natural capital' and we have to make sure to enhance this in a sustainable way, she argued. 'What we have cannot be taken away from us. We have come through a terrible economical, finance and social crisis, but the natural capital of the landscape is still here.'
Ms McGuinness also stressed the role which agriculture has to play, describing farmers as custodians of the countryside. 'They are the people who interact with visitors and their role as countryside managers needs to be recognised. 'We need to work with them and take their concerns on board,' she said, referring to the issue of access to land.