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Displaying items by tag: tourism

#Diving - A new commercial catamaran is part of a Portstewart-based diving firm’s efforts to compete with popular dive tourism destinations abroad, as the News Letter reports.

Diving is ‘big business’ for the Aquaholics Dive Centre, which provides services for big-name film and TV productions such as Game of Thrones alongside its training, sea safari and diving holiday offerings.

And it’s the tourism that such visibility brings to Northern Ireland that the company aims to capture, with its new boat just the ticket to explore more of the Causeway Coast’s impressive diving sites.

The News Letter has more on the story HERE.

Published in Diving

#SkelligRing - The Skellig Ring in Co Kerry features in Lonely Planet’s top 10 regions for globetrotters to explore on 2017.

“Ireland’s most charismatically wild and emerald stretch of coastline,” as the popular travel guide’s Best in Travel report puts it, rounds out a list that includes such breathtaking destinations as French Polynesia, Chilean Patagonia, mountainous New Zealand and the Azores.

And unsurprisingly, the biggest draw to this corner of the Wild Atlantic Way is the majestic Skellig Michael, set for another bumper tourism year in 2017 on the back of its inclusion in the new Star Wars movie series.

Published in Aquatic Tourism

#Tourism - Lough Neagh joins an exclusive list of 100 ‘sustainable destinations’ after its success in a global tourism competition this week.

As the News Letter reports, the largest inland waterway in the island of Ireland was put forward for evaluation by the Green Destinations Top 100 team, which narrowed down 150 nominees around the world to those taking sustainability most seriously for locals and tourists alike.

Eimear Kearney of the Lough Neagh Partnership was on hand to accept the prestigious designation at the Global Sustainability Competition in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

“For Lough Neagh to be named among the 100 greenest of destinations worldwide is a real achievement,” she said.

The partnership has recently launched a new scheme to improve habitats for protected bird species around the lough, according to BBC News.

The good news for Lough Neagh comes in the same week that a number of maritime tourism operators were featured at the 2016 Irish Responsible Tourism Awards, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Aquatic Tourism

Maritime tourism operators featured at the 2016 Irish Responsible Tourism Awards announced at a ceremony yesterday in Dublin.

In the best for Natural Heritage Tourism category, a silver award went to Sea Synergy Marine Awareness & Activity Centre (Co. Kerry). The marine interpretive centre located in the heart of the coastal village Waterville displays interactive displays on Ireland's marine life, such as turtles, sharks, swordfish, bones from whales and dolphins.

In the best Innovation in Responsible Tourism, the Great Lighthouses of Ireland was another Silver award winner. The tourism initiative, is a new all-island tourism initiative, developed by the Commissioners of Irish Lights and features twelve lighthouses in breathtaking coastal locations. The project offers visitors from home and abroad the chance to visit or stay in a lighthouse, to find out about their history, to appreciate the spectacular natural world around them.

The awards are a response to demand from the Irish trade for a new type of awards showcasing the best in Irish responsible tourism. The 2016 Irish Responsible Tourism Awards aim to inspire replication, to excite media interest, to encourage competition and celebration from across the tourism industry on the island of Ireland.

The Irish Responsible Tourism Awards are part of a growing family of worldwide responsible tourism awards which are all linked to the World Responsible Tourism Awards, founded by responsibletravel.com. Winners of each of the categories will be longlisted for the World Responsible Tourism Awards - a great opportunity for the Irish trade to raise international awareness.

The shortlist for the awards, which attracted entries from almost every county in Ireland, was announced in early September following assessment by a panel of industry experts chaired by international responsible tourism expert Professor Harold Goodwin. The award categories and the winners of the Silver & Gold awards are:

Best for Natural Heritage Tourism
· GOLD: Doolin Cave (Co. Clare)

· SILVER: Burren Nature Sanctuary (Co. Galway)

· SILVER: Sea Synergy Marine Awareness & Activity Centre (Co. Kerry)

Best for Accessible & Inclusive Tourism
· GOLD: Gleneagle Hotel Group (Co. Kerry)

· SILVER: Mobility Mojo

Best Local Authority Initiative for Responsible Tourism
· GOLD: Lough Muckno - Monaghan County Council

· SILVER: Westport Smarter Travel Bike Buffet - Mayo County Council

Best Tourism Accommodation for Local Sourcing
· GOLD (joint): Sea View House (Co. Clare) and Fuchsia Lane Farm Holiday Cottages (Co. Tipperary)

· SILVER: Hotel Doolin (Co. Clare)

Best Destination for Responsible Tourism
· GOLD: Mulranny (Co. Mayo)

· SILVER: Inishbofin Island (Co. Galway)

· SILVER: Sheep’s Head Way (Co. Cork)

Best Innovation in Responsible Tourism
· GOLD: The Blackfriary Community Heritage and Archaeology Project (Co. Meath)

· SILVER: Great Lighthouses of Ireland

Overall Winner: Mulranny (Co. Mayo)

Judges for the awards include:

Catherine Mack (responsibletravel.com)
Kevin Griffin (DIT tourism lecturer and former-EDEN awards judge)
Paddy Mathews (Fáilte Ireland)
Annabel Fitzgerald (Irish Water & formerly Coastal Programmes Manager An Taisce)
Mark Henry (Central Marketing Director, Tourism Ireland)
Cyril McAree (Managing Director, Hotel & Restaurant Times)

Fáilte Ireland’s Head Investment & Innovation, Paddy Matthews said, “A more environmentally conscious and community-centred approach to developing tourism in Ireland is becoming more and more mainstream... and so it should. It results in more genuine and authentic experiences for all our visitors.”

The awards took place at the 3nd Irish Responsible Tourism Conference organised by the Irish Centre for Responsible Tourism. The Irish Centre for Responsible Tourism was established in 2013 to promote responsible tourism on the island of Ireland

Published in Aquatic Tourism
Tagged under

#SkelligMichael - The Department of Heritage has approved a film shoot by drone at Skellig Michael, despite the use of drones being prohibited on the island.

According to The Irish Times, a guide on the Unesco world heritage site has raised concerns that permission for the Fáilte Ireland shoot would make a general ban on the use of drone aircraft by visitors difficult to enforce.

“How can we instruct the public not to fly drones if it will be clear that a tourism body has been permitted to do this extensively?” said the guide, who claimed anonymity.

Previously, an experienced guide spoke out over the controversial Star Wars shoots on the island last year.

The filming for box office hit The Force Awakens and next year’s Episode VIII attracted worldwide attention to the Co Kerry islands, which have since been promoted as a tourism attraction for Star Wars fans by Fáilte Ireland.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Island News

#CliffsOfMoher - As much as €20,000 in cash is believed to have been taken in a sophisticated burglary at the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre yesterday morning (Monday 3 October).

According to The Irish Times, the building’s security system was disabled after the daring thieves cut its electricity supply, allowing them unfettered access to the visitor centre at one of Ireland’s leading tourist attractions.

Visitors were yesterday warned away from the Co Clare coastal beauty spot while ESB Networks technicians worked to restore power.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update

#Lighthouses - Guardian travel writer Yvonne Gordon was impressed by a recent visit to St John’s Point Lighthouse in Co Down, part of the Great Lighthouses of Ireland tourism initiative launched last year.

In operation since the Victorian era, the structure south of Killough is still a working lighthouse, but now visitors can stay in two of the former light keeper's cottages adjacent to the building.

The tallest lighthouse on Ireland's coastline at 40 metres, it also has a literary connection, as playwright and author Brendan Behan followed in his father's footsteps as a lighthouse painter when he helped slap a coat on the tower in 1950 – though not necessarily to the satisfaction of his employers.

The Guardian has more on the story HERE.

Published in Lighthouses
Tagged under

#TitanicBelfast - Titanic Belfast is Europe's leading tourist attraction, after scooping a top gong at a major industry awards ceremony.

Paying tribute to the ill-fated ocean liner RMS Titanic and its history in the city, the Belfast Lough visitor centre took the award for Europe's Leading Visitor Attraction at the World Travel Awards in Sardinia last night (Monday 5 September), according to TheJournal.ie.

The Guinness Storehouse, Buckingham Palace and the Colosseum in Rome were among the renowned tourist hotspots beaten to the prize, the first for Northern Ireland in the history of the awards.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the four-year-old venue saw a 2% growth in visitor numbers in the 12 months before March this year, along with a 7% growth in revenues.

Published in Titanic

#WildAtlanticWay - Minister of State for Tourism Patrick O’Donovan has announced almost €1.125 million in funding from Fáilte Ireland’s Capital Grants Allocation for two key projects along the Wild Atlantic Way.

A grant of is being made available to Galway County Council will receive €896,000 for the Connemara Greenway, while a grant of €225,000 is being allocated to the Office of Public Works (OPW) towards the first phase of development of new visitor facilities on Great Blasket Island.

“I am delighted to announce these grants today as these two important tourism attractions will provide a serious contribution to the future success of the Wild Atlantic Way," said the minister last Wednesday (13 July).

"Tourism moves in a very competitive global market and capital development is one means by which we can ensure that we are fighting fit to win a good portion of overseas visitors and, thereby, gain a return on this investment through increased revenue and jobs regionally.”

The grant for the Connemara Greenway will fund a new section of the route from Cloonbeg to Athry, running adjacent to Ballynahinch Castle, with a view to completion in May 2017.

This development is part of a wider plan for the Clifden to Oughterard Greenway that will link up with the planned Greenway from Galway city to Oughterard – ultimately resulting in a 78km Galway to Clifden Greenway offering a cycling experience from city to coast with international appeal for cycling enthusiasts.

The Blasket Centre, meanwhile, is located on the Wild Atlantic Way at the halfway point of the Slea Head Drive on the Dingle Peninsula. It was developed as a heritage and visitor centre honouring the unique community who lived on the remote Blasket Islands until 1953.

Currently there are no visitor facilities on the island but the new grant will assist the OPW in their overall development of the site by funding new facilities and services on the island, expected to be completed later this summer.

“These grants are an investment in the visitor experience on the ground," said Fáilte Ireland chief executive Shaun Quinn. "While the Wild Atlantic Way has been warmly received at home and abroad, it is still an evolving project. It is vital that we continue to invest in the project to ensure that we open up its full potential.

"We have great natural landscapes along the west coast but we must also ensure that we have top class tourism infrastructure, whether facilities or interpretation, to match them.”

Minister O’Donovan also recently launched a new Fáilte Ireland Grants Scheme for Large Tourism Projects, which will provide a pool of €65 million in investment to develop new, or boost existing, tourism experiences and attractions across Ireland.

The scheme, which will run from 2016-2020, is now open for applications from the public, private and voluntary sectors including community groups. Under the scheme, capital grants in excess of €200,000 and up to a maximum of €5 million will be available.

Published in Aquatic Tourism

#CoastalNotes - Donegal's history and relationship with the coastline are celebrated by a new coastal trail launched earlier this month.

As the Donegal Democrat reports, a special training programme has been developed for business owners and others along the new Atlantic Coastal Trail to "teach the people of this county to be proud of the story of Donegal", in the words of Údarás na Gaeltachta's Meadbh Seoige.

The Gaeltacht authority is one of a number of partners in the initiative to promote the county's "maritime leisure and seafood experiences" as highlighted by Donegal Cathaoirleach Terence Slowey.

"We’re working on where we fall short in visitor numbers," explained Donegal County Council chief executive Seamus Neely. "One statistic is that as little as 12% of tourists who visit the Wild Atlantic Way actually travel north of Galway city."

The Donegal Democrat has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes
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