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Major Investment For New Tourism Attractions Development

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Four new world-class Irish tourist attractions are to be developed following the announcement of an investment of €73 million by the Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin and Fáilte Ireland.

Fáilte Ireland is investing €44.3m of the total investment in what Minster Martin is describing as "the most significant investment in visitor attractions ever undertaken by Fáilte Ireland that will have far-reaching national and regional economic benefits".

Up to 8,000 direct and indirect jobs are set to be created and sustained across the regional economy over the next 10 years as a result of this investment and it's expected over €290million will be generated from domestic and international visitors. Fáilte Ireland's economic analysis states every €1million spent by tourists helps to supports 27 jobs in the Irish tourism sector.

This announcement is the culmination of a highly competitive application process which began in 2019 and includes a total match funding of €29million from public and private project partners bringing the total investment to €73million.

Under Fáilte Ireland's Platforms for Growth Investment Grants Scheme for Immersive Heritage and Cultural Attractions the four new and strategically important large-scale visitor attractions will unlock regional dispersal of visitors and extend the tourism season in these regions beyond the traditional summer months.

The successful projects will cater for all tastes. They range from a UNESCO Global Geopark in the border county of Cavan to a Fort perched on a hilltop in Donegal overlooking the Wild Atlantic Way; and from a state-of-the-art flight simulator in the centre of Dublin to the reimagining and rewilding of a vast estate in Mayo offering uplifting nature-based experiences on the West Coast.

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The unique attractions that have been offered Fáilte Ireland investment funding are:

• Shannon Pot & Cavan Burren Park, Blacklion, Co. Cavan - €4.8million Fáilte Ireland investment

• Fort Dunree & Head, Buncrana, Co. Donegal - €9.3million Fáilte Ireland investment

• 'This is Ireland' North City Centre, Dublin 1 - €10million Fáilte Ireland investment

• Westport House Estate & Gardens, Westport, Co. Mayo - €20.2million Fáilte Ireland investment 

Announcing the four successful projects at the site of the Shannon Pot & Cavan Burren Park Minister Catherine Martin said: "Today's significant funding announcement will ensure world-class visitor attractions are created that will attract domestic and international tourists to the four locations which will not just benefit the counties where they're located but will motivate people to stay longer and explore more widely across the region. This investment in creative and impactful large-scale visitor experiences is critical to strengthening Ireland's reputation internationally as a must-visit holiday destination and provides a catalyst for further innovation in the tourism sector. This is the most significant investment in visitor attractions ever undertaken by Fáilte Ireland that will have far-reaching national and regional economic benefits."

Paul Kelly, CEO of Fáilte Ireland added:

"Driving regional tourism growth has always been a key priority for Fáilte Ireland but it is now more important than ever as we rebuild the sector and recover from the devastation of Covid19.  The aim of the Platforms for Growth 1 funding scheme is to grow Ireland's stock of large-scale visitor attractions to appeal to both domestic and international visitors. The standard of applications received for this Scheme was incredibly high and we are encouraged by the level of innovation and creativity demonstrated. The four awarded projects are truly best-in-class. They are diverse, engaging and unique and will help visitors connect with Ireland and bring the country's vibrant culture, heritage and people to life."

Fáilte Ireland's approach to investments in attractions is underpinned by a requirement of operators to deliver international best practice standards. The projects awarded funding under Platforms for Growth 1 were strategically selected under strict eligibility criteria that displayed the greatest potential for economic impact in their region. They successfully demonstrated substantial capacity to drive visitors to the area; increase employment; lengthen the tourist season; a commitment to operate under the highest international commercial standards for visitor attractions; and strengthen the portfolio of Irish visitor experiences for domestic and international audiences.

Platforms for Growth (PFG) is one of a number of investment mechanisms that Fáilte Ireland has developed in recent years to drive sustainable development of the tourism sector leading to job creation and revenue growth. PFG is funded under the Government's Project Ireland 2040 strategy.

Fáilte Ireland as the National Tourism Development Authority will continue to invest significantly over the coming years and intends to launch further investment schemes to deliver key strategic initiatives to support the recovery of the tourism sector. Included in this will be investment schemes linked to the outcome of regional tourism plans which are currently being developed.

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