Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring T.D. today promised visitors the “journey of a lifetime” as he officially launched the Wild Atlantic Way.
Fáilte Ireland is investing €10 million this year in the world’s longest touring route.
The 2,500 coastal drive stretches from the Inishowen Peninsula in Donegal to Kinsale in County Cork and already the new attraction is garnering significant interest overseas.
There are fifteen ‘Signature Discovery Points’ along the route and Donegal boasts three of them - at Malin Head, Fanad Head and Sliabh Liag, while a fourth point at Mullaghmore Head is likely to benefit Bundoran and south Donegal as well.
Speaking today, Minister Ring said: “The Wild Atlantic Way is a really exciting project which I’m delighted to launch today. It’s the world’s longest touring route through some of Ireland’s most beautiful places, and is already proving a hit in our key overseas markets like Britain, the US, France and Germany.
“It has massive potential to bring more visitors and more jobs to rural communities right along the western seaboard. That’s why we will soon be promoting it even further afield in places like Spain, Italy and the Netherlands.”
The Minister emphasised that the Government had allocated €8 million for the project this year, along with €2million previously committed from Fáilte Ireland’s Tourism Capital Investment Programme.
The route offers the traveller a great amount to see and do including: over 500 Visitor Attractions; more than 1,500 activities to pursue; 580 festivals and events throughout the year; 17 trails and 50 looped walks; 53 Blue Flag beaches; and 120 Golf Courses including some of the best ‘links’ golf in the world.
Minister Ring concluded: “Unlike The Gathering, the Wild Atlantic Way is not a ‘one-off’ but rather an evolving project which will build and develop over the years. However, I believe that it can equal The Gathering in one way and that is how it will impact those counties it traverses.
“With its capacity to drive extra visitor footfall, mobilise communities and showcase the best of this country, the Wild Atlantic Way is set to be one of the most significant developments in modern Irish tourism and to be a significant engine of regeneration for rural Ireland.”