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    Ring unveils final route for Wild Atlantic Way

    Ring unveils final route for Wild Atlantic Way
    Minister Ring launches final route of Wild Atlantic Way with Tracey Coughlan and Paddy Mathews

    Top overseas operators get first glimpse at Fáilte Ireland trade fair

    Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring today unveiled the final route for the Wild Atlantic Way, a new touring route running from Donegal to Cork.  Full details are available on our website:  www.failteireland.ie/wildatlanticway 

    The Minister joined Fáilte Ireland to present the final route to 300 top overseas tour operators attending Meitheal 2013, Ireland’s largest tourism trade fair. The Wild Atlantic Way will be Ireland’s first long-distance driving route, stretching from the Inishowen Peninsula in Donegal to Kinsale in County Cork, and offering future visitors an opportunity to truly discover the west coast.

    The 2,500km final route was unveiled following a comprehensive public consultation process and includes 156 strategically placed discovery points for tourists along the way.  While the route unveiled today comprises the main spine of the Wild Atlantic Way, a series of looped itineraries off the spine are also planned to further develop the experience for visitors. 

    Speaking today, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring T.D. said:
     
    “The Wild Atlantic Way is a very exciting project and I’m certain it will be a major tourism attraction.  But to make it happen we all need to get on board. There has been a great response so far and I’m encouraging tourism operators, local authorities, business people and residents to stay involved to get this over the finishing line.”

    The overseas tour operators were given an advance ‘sneak-peek’ of the route last night at a Fáilte Ireland welcome event in the Convention Centre Dublin when they were treated to the premiere of a video-trailer to show them just what their clients can expect along the route from next year on. You can view the video here.
    You can read a project update and the full Route Identification Report online on www.failteireland.ie/wildatlanticway 

    These overseas travel agents are in Dublin to attend today’s (Tuesday 23rd April) ‘Meitheal‘, Ireland’s largest travel trade workshop in the RDS, Dublin.  Meitheal allows over 400 Irish tourism providers the opportunity to meet directly with 300 top overseas tour operators with a view to negotiating business for 2014.  The Wild Atlantic Way will provide a big boost to many pitches. (For more on the trade fair – see the note below).
    Paddy Mathews, Manager of Destination Development with Fáilte Ireland, believes the project will be a great addition to what Ireland has to offer visitors -

    “Developing a route like this is an important part of ensuring Ireland is able to provide visitors with an unforgettable experience. It will open up a huge number of towns and attractions to them and showcase the scenery and unique culture of the West Coast of Ireland providing easy access to a range of experiences along the route.

    “Now that the route has been finalised we will be focusing our efforts on turning all this preparatory work into a reality – an international driving route to rival the best in the world.”

    Fáilte Ireland has been working with all the Local Authorities along the West Coast as well as the Leader Companies, Údaras na Gaeltachta and the Western Development Commission

    Follow us on Twitter @Fáilte_Ireland

    ENDS

    For further information please contact:
    Alex Connolly – Head of Communications
    086 7966320/01 8847884

    Louise Tolerton - Press Officer
    086 6086578/01 8847135

    Note for Editor

    Fáilte Ireland
    Fáilte Ireland, the national tourism development authority, was established in 2003 to guide and promote tourism as a leading indigenous component of the Irish economy.

    The tourism and hospitality industry employs an estimated 185,000 people and generates almost €5.7 billion in revenue a year. 

    Meitheal – Ireland’s Biggest Trade Fair

    Akin to ‘speed-dating’, the Meitheal format is based on a pre-arranged appointment system, with each Irish supplier having approximately 65 ten minute appointments with overseas travel agents over the two days (23-24th April) with the appointments based on both suppliers and agents’ specific requests.  Overall, almost 15,800 scheduled appointments will take place between the Irish trade and the tourism agents from across the globe.   
    In addition, Fáilte Ireland has organised a number of fact-finding tours around Ireland for overseas operators taking part in Meitheal this year, providing them a unique opportunity to sample the sights and sounds that Ireland has to offer their customers.

    Meitheal,  organised by Fáilte Ireland in association with Tourism Ireland, is now in its thirty–eighth year and has evolved and grown to the extent that 18 countries will be represented at this year’s event – including Ireland’s top four markets  the US, UK, Germany and France. Delegates are also arriving from as far afield as China, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Italy, Spain, Austria, Switzerland, Canada, Brazil, and Australia.

    The Wild Atlantic Way

    The Wild Atlantic Way is Ireland’s first long-distance driving route.  Stretching from the Inishowen Peninsula in Donegal to Kinsale in County Cork, the route will offer visitors an opportunity to truly discover the West Coast.  Following a comprehensive public consultation process, the 2,500km route has been finalised and includes 156 discovery points along the way.  At this stage the route comprises of a main spine but in time, a series of looped itineraries will be created to further develop the experience for visitors. 

    Along with the relevant local authorities and other stakeholders, Fáilte Ireland has been working on the Wild Atlantic Way for the past year with significant progress to date in terms of route identification and an overall brand.  Over the next year the focus will be on preparing a signage plan for the route along with ensuring the discovery points are visitor-ready. 

    In addition, the tourism authority will be working with tourism businesses along the route environs to help them deliver and package their Wild Atlantic Way experiences.  A series of workshops will take place focussing on the main target markets of Great Britain, France, Germany and the USA.  A marketing strategy for the overseas promotion of the project will be rolled out in time for the launch of the route in March 2014.      

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