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Clare’s ‘badly needed’ tourism strategy to be ready by the autumn

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*A path on the Cliffs of Moher looking over the Aran Islands. Photograph: Julie Tillett

‘A badly needed’ tourism strategy for Co Clare is expected to be ready by the autumn while coach providers visiting the Cliffs of Moher have said a lack of accommodation is preventing them from offering bed nights in the county.

Before this stage, there will be a second round of public consultation, dates of which will be finalised following a meeting of the steering group responsible. Shannon Airport was a recurring item discussed at the first stage of public consultations.

UK company, Team Tourism were appointed in December to deliver the tourism strategy. Speaking at Tuesday’s meeting of Clare County Council’s Rural Development SPC, senior executive officer, Monica Meehan outlined, “they are working to a specific brief, they’ve a lot of work done in terms of profiling, research, market and brand analysis”. “The strategy should be finished around autumn,” she confirmed.

Cllr Pat Hayes felt the plan couldn’t come quick enough. “The tourism strategy is badly needed and something we’re waiting a long time for. The fact we’re working with Shannon Heritage on this is very important. The key thing is the recommendations and how they will be implemented. We haven’t a huge resource for tourism in this Council and it is something we will have to build on”.

Director of Service, Leonard Cleary highlighted that the work on the strategy to date was focused on product and market development. He pointed out that the west of the county has The Wild Atlantic Way with potential for the east side as part of Hidden Heartlands, “We have a lot of work to do to get the branding right and get Clare’s position within it”.

Regarding discussions held with coach operators visiting the Cliffs of Moher, Cleary admitted they have been hit with the excuse that there is a lack of accommodation in the county to entice transport providers to offer bed nights in Clare. “We have had some policy changes around the Cliffs trying to get people staying an extra night. We met tour buses and they told us we haven’t the accommodation”.

Newmarket-on-Fergus native, Páraic McMahon is a freelance journalist and broadcaster currently working for numerous national and local publications including The Clare Echo, The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent, The Irish Times, RTÉ, TheJournal.ie, The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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