The County Kerry Tourism Strategy & Action Plan sets out the priorities and investment plans for tourism in the county over the period 2016 to 2022. 273 short, medium and long-term Actions are included under the seven key areas of: Infrastructure; Adventure; Environment, Natural & Cultural Heritage; Community Tourism, Events & Festivals; Education; Enterprise & Innovation; Branding & Marketing. The delivery of these Actions is dependent on financial resources and ongoing cooperation and participation by lead partners, state agencies, development companies and local communities.
Below are just a few initiatives and projects the Tourism Unit are currently progressing:
1. Bray Head Iconic Discovery Point: Work is progressing with Fáilte Ireland to improve the visitor facilities at the Wild Atlantic Way Discovery Point at Bray Head, Valentia Island, following the appointment of Architects and Environmental Consultants. Design work and environmental monitoring continued during 2017 and a public consultation was held on Valentia Island on 5th May, as part of the Environment Impact Assessment process. Kerry County Council will lodge a planning application with An Bórd Pleanála by year end.
2. Tourism Ambassador Programme: Fifteen North Kerry Tourism Ambassadors completed the very first Tourism Ambassador Programme in Kerry in 2016. This initiative was developed by the Tourism Unit in association with the Institute of Technology in Tralee and the Destination Kerry Tourism Forum. Participants from a broad range of tourism businesses and organisation in the North Kerry area were invited to complete a course which covered an overview of tourism in North Kerry, the value and importance of tourism to the region and how to ensure visitors stay longer and leave with memorable experiences. Lecturers from I.T. Tralee’s Hotel, Culinary & Tourism Department delivered the two-night course and it is planned to roll-out the programme to other areas of the county.
3. Skellig Coast Visitor Experience Development Plan & Skellig Coast Tourism Network: The Tourism Unit is working closely with this network and Failte Ireland to develop the region by broadening appeal and increasing dwell time by developing compelling and motivating attractions/experiences for national and international visitors.
4. Mobile Observatory: The Tourism Unit is developing a proposal for a high-tech mobile observatory as a shared resource for communities in the International Dark Sky Reserve in South Kerry. The Observatory will operate in all weathers, both night and day, with input from a range of national and international agencies and institutions including the European Space Agency. It will be the only such facility in Europe and will give the Kerry Dark Sky Reserve an advantage over competitor astro-tourism destinations.