The plan, titled ‘Inishowen Peninsula Destination Development Plan and Experience Development Plan’, aims to create a sustainable tourism destination by extending the tourism season and spreading the business across the region over the next five years.
Key stakeholders in the area and the local community were consulted at four public consultation meetings held across the peninsula and their observations and ideas were captured in the plan.
Participating agencies included Donegal County Council, National Parks and Wildlife Service, Public Works Office, Inishowen Development Partnership, Loughs Agency, Inishowen Development Partnership, Donegal Local Enterprise Office and local tourism marketing groups as well as many local tourism operators and networks.
The focus of the plan is based on a number of destination development projects that will bring local experiences to life including Fort Dunree and Malin Head along with cycling trails along the Northwest Greenway and Blueway that will encourage visitors to discover the Inishowen Peninsula.
At the launch of the plan at Fort Donnery on Friday, Minister of Agriculture, Food and the Seas, Charlie McConnalog TD, said: “I am delighted to formally launch the Destination and Experience Development Plan for the Inishowen Peninsula today which will enhance the sustainability of tourism on the peninsula and will encourage visitors to stay longer in the area.
“An extension of the tourism season will not only strengthen individual businesses, but will create new opportunities for entrepreneurship – preserving and increasing employment opportunities and enhancing the area’s attractiveness to other forms of economic growth. This plan will make a real difference to communities and businesses on the Inishwin Peninsula.”
Speaking about the plan, Paul Kelly, Director of Regional Development, Faģilte Ireland, said: “This destination and experience development plan, which captures the unique themes central to the Inishowen Peninsula, is about looking to the future of tourism in the region and will be very important as we work to spread the benefits of Tourism across County Donegal.
“As part of the plan, Faģilte Ireland and Donegal County Council have invested €12.3 million in Fort Dunree through our Platforms for Growth investment program to develop a compelling visitor experience that will showcase its significant maritime, military, social and political history, telling engaging stories that visitors can share with their friends and family. Over the first five years of operation, the project is expected to generate €19.5 million in direct tourism expenditure to support 550 jobs in the area.”
John G McLaughlin, chief executive of Donegal County Council, said: “It’s a great example that collaboration is key to building a sustainable tourism industry here in Donegal and will drive economic growth north of Galway and as far as we are here in the North West.”
“The plan provides us with a collective vision for the region and creates a platform for new levels of collaboration between tourism businesses and stakeholders to work in partnership over the next five years to create new and improved existing visitor experiences.”
Fort Dunree Chairman John McCarter said: “The Wild Atlantic Way continues its tremendous success and this plan gives us the opportunity as tour operators to capitalize on the popularity of the trail and by encouraging visitors to come to Donegal and Inishowen in particular in the off-season and stay at our hotels and eat.” In our restaurants and experience all that the peninsula has to offer.”