Donegal tourism bidding to emerge from “three tough years”

Tourism chiefs are hoping for an upsurge in fortunes in 2011 after what was described this week as “three very tough years” for the industry.

Tourism chiefs are hoping for an upsurge in fortunes in 2011 after what was described this week as “three very tough years” for the industry.

“We’ve had a very, very bad year - the less said about it the better,” Failte Ireland Chief Executive Officer, Shaun Quinn, reflected on twelve months when the economic downturn coupled with the volcanic ash clouds and weeks of snow drifts brought the industry to a shuddering halt and tourism businesses had “walked the tighrope” in 2010.

With local providers saddled with high costs and a tight cash flow and with business confidence low, the general feeling at Tuesday’s tourism briefing in Letterkenny hosted by Failte Ireland should have been one of doom and gloom but speakers were quick to refer to encouraging pointers.

“There are some positive signs in some of our key markets, particularly Europe and the U.S. and business sentiment about future prospects has improved slightly. We have a good quality product, we have better infrastructure and we are better value than before,” insisted the C.E.O.

Investment too has generated further confidence - the recent announcement of funding of over two million euro for the development of some of Europe’s most spectacular sea cliffs, Sliabh Liag, and a further quarter of a million euro for the Waterworld facility in Bundoran will help boost tourism numbers in both localities.

Stressing that his organisation would leave no stone unturned and no potential untapped in efforts to help the sector, Mr. Quinn said Failte Ireland was committed to working with all the key players in the region.

The staging of the European Surfing Championships in Bundoran later this year is expected to raise the profile of the county to new heights in the international arena.

This week, Head of Operations with Failte Ireland, Shaun Quinn, confirmed that the Donegal Live event would be hosted in Glasgow on May 1st and in Dublin on May 22nd.

See page 12 for full coverage.