One of many world’s most scenic drives is about to get even longer.

The potential extension of the Wild Atlantic Means into Northern Eire is being thought of to draw extra vacationers to the area.

The route is over 1,600 miles of scenic roads and trails that wrap round Eire’s west coast. The route binds collectively breathtaking places alongside the shore the place the ocean reaches Europe – with wealthy heritage, points of interest and actions to enliven the expertise.

The scenic route at the moment extends from Kinsale in Co Cork, alongside the west coast of Eire taking within the Cliffs of Moher in Co Clare, to the Inishowen Peninsula in Co Donegal.

Throughout the border in Northern Eire, the Causeway Coastal Route begins in Londonderry and travels across the shoreline to Belfast.

In a speech to a Tourism NI convention in Belfast on Tuesday, Stormont Economic system Minister Conor Murphy additionally mooted linking up the Hidden Heartlands within the Republic with Co Fermanagh, in addition to Downpatrick and Armagh with Eire’s Historic East.

Mr Murphy described tourism as successful story of the 1998 Belfast/Good Friday Settlement and pledged to assist its additional improvement.

The Wild Atlantic Means ends (or begins) within the picturesque city of Kinsale (Getty Photographs/iStockphoto)

He mentioned Tourism Eire’s advertising and marketing of the island abroad is “important” to additional progress, and mentioned that whereas his division’s funding to the physique had “fallen behind” in recent times, it will likely be “correctly funded” this yr.

Mr Murphy mentioned that round 70% of abroad holidaymakers who come to Northern Eire journey from the Republic of Eire.

There are at the moment no transatlantic routes which fly into any of Northern Eire’s airports.

He mentioned in a bid to extend this circulation of travellers, discussions are at the moment below means on extending among the Republic’s tourism manufacturers into Northern Eire.

“This may embrace consideration of rolling the Wild Atlantic Means into the Causeway Coastal Route, the Hidden Heartlands into Fermanagh, and locations resembling Downpatrick and Armagh in Eire’s Historic East,” he mentioned.

Mr Murphy additionally mentioned he met officers on Monday to debate new analysis on strengthening air connectivity.

“I will even work with my colleague, Finance Minister Caoimhe Archibald, to proceed to make the case to the British Authorities for tourism and hospitality to harmonise the north’s fee of VAT with the south. This may degree the taking part in discipline throughout the island,” he added.

In the meantime Mr Murphy warned big progress potential in tourism is at the moment threatened by the Authorities’s Digital Journey Authorisation scheme.

All clear? Digital Journey Authorisations are required for an growing variety of nationalities in search of to journey to the UK (Simon Calder)

“Beneath this scheme worldwide guests who need to journey to the north from the south should apply for, and pay for, permission to journey,” he mentioned.

“The effort and price of it will imply many guests will merely not journey north.

“This might have a devastating impression and so I’ll foyer the British Authorities to desert this coverage.”

SDLP chief Colum Eastwood welcomed the phrases from Mr Murphy.

He mentioned he wrote to the Economic system Minister earlier this month to request an evaluation of the potential good thing about extending the Wild Atlantic Option to the Causeway Coast following the allocation of £6.5m from the Irish authorities’s Shared Island Unity to hyperlink the 2 manufacturers on the finish of 2022.

“The model energy of the Wild Atlantic Means has been a rare asset for communities alongside the west coast that at the moment are benefitting to the tune of greater than three billion euro (£2.5 billion) yearly in tourism income,” he mentioned.

“There’s a big alternative to increase and broaden the Wild Atlantic Means from Donegal by way of to the centre of Derry and on to the Causeway Coast.

“Greater than £6m has already been supplied by the Shared Island Unit to hyperlink the 2 manufacturers however my agency view is that deeper integration will ship higher outcomes for companies and communities within the North West.

“I wrote to the Economic system Minister this month asking for an evaluation of the financial potential of extending the Wild Atlantic Option to Derry and the North West.

“It is unnecessary so far as I can see to terminate such a profitable model on the border once we can maximise the profit for everybody. We ought to be in search of to go with the vacationer product within the North West as a substitute of needlessly competing with ourselves.”


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