Monday, May 27, 2024

Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way said to drive €3bn in revenue every year

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10th anniversary of the 2,500km touring route is being celebrated at Meitheal in Killarney

The 2,500km touring route, launched 10 years ago this month, attracted almost two million more tourists to the west in 2023 than in 2013, the report says, and has supported 35,000 extra tourism jobs.

The report – ‘10 Years of the Wild Atlantic Way‘ – was launched by Fáilte Ireland at Meitheal, its flagship trade event, in Killarney this week.

10 years of the Wild Atlantic Way – three words that changed Irish tourism forever

The Wild Atlantic Way “is now a household name and cements Ireland’s reputation as a must-visit tourism destination”, said Tourism Minister Catherine Martin.

The route was officially launched in April 2014 but, as reported in depth by the Irish Independent this week, had its origins in a 2011 effort to arrest tourism decline on the west coast following the financial crash.

The route “continues to be a key motivator for domestic and international visitors” said Paul Kelly, CEO of Fáilte Ireland, “with tourism now supporting 121,000 jobs across the region”.

It has also seen Ireland’s tourism marketing and development map transformed into destination brands – including Ireland’s Ancient East, Dublin and Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands.

“Domestically, the Wild Atlantic Way is our most popular region with 51pc of all domestic tourism revenue being generated there,” Kelly added.

Inbound travel grew by 45pc between 2013 and 2019, he said – “well above the Northern European average of 25pc”.

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Running since 1975, Meitheal sees over 380 Irish tourism partners pitch to 241 international buyers and tour operators at the Gleneagle INEC in Killarney.

“At Tourism Ireland, we’ve loved making the Wild Atlantic Way famous overseas,” said Alice Mansergh, CEO of Tourism Ireland, at the event.

“We captured behind-the-scenes interviews with the stars of Normal People, Banshees of Inisherin and Star Wars, as they filmed along the route, inspiring screen tourism.

“Tourism Ireland has co-produced 22 food and travel focused TV shows highlighting the Wild Atlantic Way, reaching 450 million in viewership around the world.

“Bringing journalists to experience the scenery, heritage and culture along the route has led to coverage in publications like The Guardian, The New York Times and National Geographic, adding up over the years to an ‘equivalent advertising value’ of over €1 billion,” she added.

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