€100m for Wild Atlantic Way & Greenways– FG plans for tourism sector and 50,000 new jobs

21st February, 2016

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny & Minister for Tourism Paschal Donohoe, today (Sunday) outlined the party’s plan to create 50,000 new jobs in tourism and increase the number of visitors to 10 million. To help achieve this ambition the party also outlined a new €100 million capital injection in the Wild Atlantic Way and a nationwide greenways network. Fine Gael’s plans for the tourism sector will grow revenues from overseas tourists to €5 billion and will make a significant contribution to regional job creation.


An Taoiseach said:

“Tourism has been one of the major success stories of the economic recovery. Fine Gael believes the tourism sector is uniquely placed to make a major contribution to growing jobs in every region of the country.  Now is the time to use the fruits of the recovery to invest further in tourism to make Ireland a globally recognised must-see destination.


“Under Fianna Fáil, there was a 23% drop in overseas visitor numbers, to little more than 6 million visits. Fine Gael in Government has implemented tourism friendly policies, such as reducing the VAT rate to 9% and scrapping the air travel tax, which have helped to grow visitor numbers to 8.6 million in 2015. Fine Gael in Government has a strategy to bring visitor numbers up to 10 million by 2025, which will help to create 50,000 jobs.


“We also plan to invest €100 million of our Future Jobs Investment Fund in the Wild Atlantic Way and greenway development. We will target increased investment in areas such new facilities for walking, cycling (greenways) and water based activities (blueways) to take the Wild Atlantic Way to the next level.


“Fine Gael recognises the huge potential of outdoor and activity based tourism, which is a growing international market. With the right vision, plan and investment, a nationwide network of connected greenways can become a global tourist attraction. We have already invested €20 million in greenway development during our first term in Government. If re-elected, we will provide additional funding as part of this €100 million capital package. As part of our greenway plan we will complete the Ashtown to Athlone section of the Dublin to Galway Greenway by 2017.


“Tourism is an integral part of our long term economic plan to keep the recovery going. We will take a whole-of-government approach to ensure our ambitious targets for the sector are met. We will do more to market Ireland as a year-round destination. Building on the major success of the Gathering in 2013, we will hold a successor to it in 2019. Building on these successes, two recent campaigns have been developed; Ireland’s Ancient East and Dublin- A Breath of Fresh Air and our Future Jobs Investment Fund will provide additional resources to support these initiatives.


“Like so many other sectors, tourism was overlooked, neglected and under-estimated by Fianna Fáil. They failed to recognise the huge potential of tourism to drive economic activity and create jobs, particularly in regional locations. Fianna Fáil introduced the air travel tax and did nothing to support the thousands of small business owners who are reliant on the tourism sector. Fine Gael will continue to prioritise our tourism sector through targeted investment to increase visitor numbers, revenue and job creation.”