Specially commissioned plaques have been presented in Wexford to partners involved in a €1.9m project aimed at encouraging visitors to explore new areas of Ireland and Wales.
Six Celtic Routes partners and stakeholders received Interreg Project plaques from the respective Irish and Welsh Project Managers, Oonagh Messett and Rhian Philips, at a stakeholder meeting in Wexford County Council chamber on Tuesday, September 18.
The partners were presented with the plaques in recognition of the co-funded nature of the project.
Representatives of consultant firm, Bluegrass, delivered a very detailed presentation based around market research carried out in relation to the project.
Speaking to this newspaper about the initiative Ms Messett said the Bluegrass presentation gave a strong indication of the viability of the proposed routes.
Over two days representatives from the local authorities in Wexford, Wicklow, Waterford, Camarthenshire, Ceredigion and the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park assessed the report and agreed on the next steps to take.
The Celtic Routes project is a co-funded European Territorial initiative that is being led by Camarthenshire County Council in Wales.
It will focus attention on the six areas involved and according to Ms Messett the overall aim is to highlight areas in the six local authority regions that haven't yet been fully utilised.
'The project aims to highlight hidden gems and transform less well known areas from transit zones to new touring sites,' said Ms Messett.
'This will increase the time visitors spend in these regions and capitalise on the opportunities to boost local economies and add value to the combined tourism offerings,' she added.
As part of the project further customer research initiatives will take place in addition to trade events and workshops and there will also be cross-border visits by Welsh and Irish businesses to their respective countries; the aim of those visits will be to develop mew ideas.
Part of the project is expected to include the development of new tourist trails combining a number of themes including: Tracing Your Roots; Pilgrim Trails; Landscape and Living Heritage; Wildlife, and Folklore.