Call for special task force as tourism turns "patchy"

Bad weather and sterling conspire to hit visitor numbers

Call for special task force as tourism turns "patchy"

Smiling despite the rain...Not everyone remains as cheerful as these ladies who took part in last month's Leghowney Loop Walk.

The Chairman of the Irish Hotels Federation has called on Failte Ireland to set up a special task force specifically to address tourism in the North Western loop which he has described as “patchy”.

Paul Diver said that, while it was quite evident that the larger towns and established centres were showing signs of growth, many resort areas were suffering because of the weather and the weakness in sterling.

“The season started very well with the early good weather and the publicity generated by the visit of Prince Charles but since Brexit there has been a serious decline in the Northern business.

“Traditionally the northern visitor is much more resort orientated and we just are not just seeing them in the same numbers. Established hotels and those in towns like Donegal and Letterkenny have captured a large slice in the domestic and European markets.”

Hotelier Terry McEniff concurred saying, “Letterkenny is doing well but it is a totally different market. We have seen a massive increase in the southern Irish visitor at the expense of the N.I. market. There is a grave danger that we become over reliant on the southern market. We must widen our horizons. “

Diver added, “We are all patting ourselves on the back about the success of the Wild Atlantic Way but realistically, compared to Kerry, Clare and Galway, we are only getting a small fraction.

“Tourists have actually complimented me on how great it was to come to Donegal and experience an uncrowded Wild Atlantic Way.

“I am calling on Failte Ireland to develop a comprehensive marketing strategy which will help develop a more equitable share to this region.”