Tourism Projects

Tourism Projects

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.  There are 273 short, medium and long-term Actions included under the seven key areas of: Infrastructure; Adventure; Environment, Natural & Cultural Heritage; Community Tourism, Events & Festivals; Education; Enterprise & Innovation; Branding & Marketing.  These actions are challenging, relevant and focused on responding to the current threats, challenges and opportunities facing the tourism sector in Kerry.  Sustainability and partnership are at the heart of the Strategy with the various groups who were engaged in the preparation of the Strategy are helping to lead its implementation. 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 of the initiatives and projects which the Tourism Unit are progressing.

Wild Atlantic Way

Work is progressing with Fáilte Ireland to improve the visitor facilities at the Wild Atlantic Way Discovery Point at Bray Head, Valentia Island.   An application was lodged with An Bord Pleanala in August 2020 for works to stabilise and conserve the existing Signal Tower building and provide a new roof top viewing platform which will afford stunning views of the Skellig Islands and surrounding landscape.  There will be universal access to viewing areas at ground level where the old boundary wall will be reinstated.

Bray Head, Valentia Island

Tralee has been successful in securing grant support from Failte Ireland under the Destination Towns Programme and Killarney under the Wild Atlantic Way Gateway Town scheme.

Visitor Experience Development Plans have been finalised for West Kerry/Corca Dhuibhne and Three Peninsulas/Kenmare areas and work has commenced on the Cliff Coast Plan which will incorporate North Kerry and West Clare.

Valentia Trans-Atlantic Cable Project

The Valentia Trans-Atlantic Cable Project continues to make progress towards the ultimate goal of UNESCO World Heritage inscription. This is a long process and can take many years.  The first step involves being placed on the Irish Tentative List which is due to be finalised by Spring 2021.   It is hoped to commence work on the conservation of Valentia Cable Station during 2021 with financial support from the Rural Regeneration Development Fund. Fáilte Ireland has approved grant support for a Cable Museum on the ground floor and an innovation hub employing up to 50 people is planned at first floor level. The Cable Station was chosen by Kerry County Council and the DRCD as one of the first Broadband Connection Points (or BCPs) to be rolled out under the National Broadband Plan.

The Council is working closely with the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, who manage the UNESCO process in Ireland, the Department of Rural and Community Development, the Valentia Island Development Company, Valentia Trans-Atlantic Cable Foundation and the Government of Newfoundland Labrador in Canada and other national and international groups to meet the strict criteria demanded for World Heritage designation

Kerry Your Natural Escape

The Tourism Unit continues to extensively promote use of the Kerry Your Natural Escape tourism brand by our various stakeholders as an integral part of their commercial offering. The brand is an endorsement and guarantee of the unique experience of visiting Kerry and is a major competitive differentiator.

Overseas and Domestic Kerry Tourism Promotions

In 2020, Kerry County Council worked closely with the Kerry Tourism Industry Federation on a number of initiatives to promote Kerry to the domestic market.  This included the development of the www.discoverkerry.com website as well as the ‘Explore the Kingdom and its Greatness’ campaign as well as Kerry Tourism Day.

Kerry County Council, working with tourism partners and stakeholders, promote the county at various shows both within Ireland and abroad.  CMT Stuttgart is Europe’s largest public exhibition for tourism and leisure and took place from the 11th to the 19th January with over 260,000 visitors and over 2,600 exhibitors.   A detailed map of Kerry’s tourist attractions was widely distributed at the event, as well as, German versions of the Kerry brochure and the County Kerry Activity Brochure.    Networking opportunities helped strengthen existing relationships and several new contacts were made with our growing German market.

CMT Stuttgart

A Kerry stand, organised by Kerry County Council in conjunction with the Destination Kerry Tourism Forum and tourism trade in the county, took part in the Holiday World Show in Belfast from the 17th to the 19th January.  With several thousand attendees, the show was a great opportunity to showcase the county as Ireland’s premier tourist destination.

Kerry County Council coordinated a large Kerry exhibition space at the Holiday World Show in Dublin’s RDS which took place from the 24th to the 26th January 2020. With over 50,000 attendees, this event is Ireland’s largest and best-attended annual exhibition and was an ideal opportunity for the tourism trade in the county to promote and market Kerry.    All regions of the county were represented at the Kerry exhibition space and several tourism providers provided special offers/promotions for visitors to the stand.

Holiday World Show Dublin

Safe Destination Kerry:

In June 2020, as the county’s tourism and hospitality sectors prepared to reopen, Kerry County Council, Kerry Education & Training Board, the Kerry branch of The Irish Hotels Federation and Kerry Tourism Industry Federation launched the Safe Destination Kerry programme.  The programme has involved training of thousands of staff in the hospitality and retail industry in best practice cleaning protocols and will offer assurance to our visitors.  The specialised training was devised by Kerry ETB and includes modules on cleanliness, hygiene and customer interaction and is to the highest international standards.  Once staff complete the training, premises can display a Safe Destination Badge. Over 3,000 staff have participated in the training which will is still on-going and which will help position Kerry as a safe and attractive destination for both visitors and locals.

Safe Destination Kerry Launch

Festivals and Events

The Tourism Strategy & Action Plan 2016 – 2022 recognises the importance of events and festivals to Kerry tourism.  They are an integral part of our tourism offering and afford an opportunity for local people to attract increased visitors and revenue into their community.  Community Groups, Chambers and Tourism Alliances around the county make a great contribution to Kerry tourism by organising festivals and events that showcase culture, people and places.

The Festival & Participative Events Programme supports festivals and participative events that will drive domestic tourism and help to improve the visitor experience in Kerry.  The Tourism Unit of Kerry County Council administers this programme on behalf of Fáilte Ireland.  To be considered for funding, a minimum festival/event expenditure of €10,000 must be demonstrated and over 30 festivals and events are supported annually.

The Covid 19 restrictions in place in 2020 have had a devasting impact on the county’s annual schedule of festivals and events, with most having to be cancelled but with some taking place virtually.  In 2021, Kerry County Council will continue to support local communities who organise festivals and events, when and if Government Guidelines allow.

Festival & participative events programme for County Kerry 2021

Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme

The Department of Rural & Community Development’s annual ‘Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme’ is a scheme that invests in the physical infrastructure that underpins sporting and recreational activities based on the use of the resources of the countryside.  The Tourism Unit coordinates the submission of applications for suitable projects that will contribute to healthy active lifestyles while building on the economic and tourism potential of the county and so, are to the benefit of both local communities and tourist visitors alike.

Projects that have in the past been funded with the support of the scheme include the Tralee Bay Amenity Trail; Strickeen Trail upgrade; Beach Wheelchair facilites at a number of beaches; Old Butter Road Rathmore; Oysterbed Sneem amenity area; Inch Boardwalk and shower facilities; Dingle Way upgrade works; Killarney town bike racks; Milltown Heritage Trail and Caragh Lake Amenity development.

Beach Wheelchairs, Ballinskelligs Beach

Accessible Tourism

A key objective of the County Kerry Tourism Strategy and Action Plan 2016 – 2022 is to promote and market accessible tourism as a key component of Kerry as a sustainable destination.  Accessible tourism is making environments, venues and services suitable for the widest range of customers including people with disabilities, seniors and families.

In 2020, work continued on the development of Killarney Town as an accessible tourism destination.  A local steering group is in place and is working closely with Fáilte Ireland and Killarney Chamber of Tourism & Commerce.  Significant progress has been made by a large number of private businesses in Killarney, particularly in the accommodation sector.

The new Ballybunion Tourism Development Plan 2020, a joint initiative of Fáilte Ireland and Kerry County Council, has as a key objective the development of Ballybunion as the first universally accessible coastal resort on the Wild Atlantic Way.  This will involve works that will facilitate universal access to the beaches and cliff walk and provide the resort with a unique selling point for both domestic and overseas markets.

 

Tourism Ambassador Programme

The Tourism Ambassador Programme is an initiative developed by Kerry County Council’s Tourism Unit in association with the Institute of Technology, Tralee.   The programme invites participants from a broad range of tourism businesses and organisations in a particular area of the county to complete a course which covers an overview of tourism in their area, the value and importance of tourism to that region and to the county, ensuring our visitors stay longer in the area and leave with memorable experiences.  Lecturers from I.T. Tralee’s Hotel, Culinary & Tourism Department delivered the course.  Following the success of the programme in North Kerry and Mid-Kerry, the programme will be provided for other areas of the county.

Kerry Dark Sky Reserve

Astro-tourism is a growing niche market within international tourism and the Gold Tier International Dark Sky Reserve in the Skellig/West Iveragh Region positions Kerry to harness the benefits of this high-end tourism market.   Kerry County Council will support the development and promotion of the Reserve and will continue to facilitate, in cooperation with Skellig CRI and UCC, training for star gazing guides.

The Sustainable Energy section secured SEAI and TII support to co-fund the continuation of the retrofitting/replacement of standard public lights with dark sky compliant lighting along the main N70 national route through Cahersiveen.

Requests from communities adjoining the Dark Sky Reserve, from Blackwater Bridge to Rossbeigh, to have their areas added to the International Dark Sky Reserve are currently being assessed.

The provision of a Mobile Observatory, as a shared resource within the Dark Sky Reserve, remains a key objective and the proposal is included in the new national Fáilte Ireland Dark Sky Strategy.

 

EU ‘LIVE’ Project:

Kerry County Council with its partners University College Cork and South Kerry Development Partnership have been successful in securing €2.67m under the Ireland-Wales EU Interreg Programme for a joint project with Gwynedd County Council and  Bangor University, Wales for a 3-year natural heritage tourism programme for both West Iveragh and Llyn Peninsula.  The ‘LIVE’ (Llyn Iveragh Eco Museums) project involves the creation of an eco-museum (outdoor museum) which will greatly complement the cultural heritage in both areas.

The operation, which is led by the School of Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences at UCC, brings together a diverse team with complementary skill sets and an ambition to enable communities to market their natural and cultural capital to create sustainable tourism products.   The development of these high-quality tourism products is underpinned with a sound information basis.

The project fits seamlessly into the Kerry Council’s Strategy of Sustainable Tourism Development and can also be viewed as implementing elements of the Imagining Iveragh programme.

Kilmorna-Listowel and Tralee-Fenit Greenways:

The development of Greenways will greatly enhance Kerry’s tourism product and offer both locals and visitors a safe off-road environment within which to enjoy the stunning landscapes and seascapes of the area. Funding of €6.5 million was secured for the development of these new sections of greenway which will form part of the planned future 100km cycling and walking amenity route which will eventually link Limerick to Fenit via Listowel and Tralee.   Work on the 10km Tralee-Fenit has commenced, with the Spa-Fenit section expected to open in Spring 2021. Work on the 10.5km Kilmorna-Listowel section is due for completion in 2021.

The Tourism Unit is currently developing a comprehensive marketing strategy for the promotion of Greenways in Kerry for domestic and international markets. These plans will be developed in close coordination with local community and business stakeholders, national bodies and agencies, and relevant local authorities. These plans will also consider research that has been done in the area and on national and international best practice. As part of this planning process, all available funding opportunities for marketing the Greenways will be identified and pursued.

Wild Atlantic Way

Work is progressing with Fáilte Ireland to improve the visitor facilities at the Wild Atlantic Way Discovery Point at Bray Head, Valentia Island.   An application was lodged with An Bord Pleanala in August 2020 for works to stabilise and conserve the existing Signal Tower building and provide a new roof top viewing platform which will afford stunning views of the Skellig Islands and surrounding landscape.  There will be universal access to viewing areas at ground level where the old boundary wall will be reinstated.

Tralee has been successful in securing grant support from Failte Ireland under the Destination Towns Programme and Killarney under the Wild Atlantic Way Gateway Town scheme.

Visitor Experience Development Plans have been finalised for West Kerry/Corca Dhuibhne and Three Peninsulas/Kenmare areas and work has commenced on the Cliff Coast Plan which will incorporate North Kerry and West Clare.

Valentia Trans-Atlantic Cable Project

The Valentia Trans-Atlantic Cable Project continues to make progress towards the ultimate goal of UNESCO World Heritage inscription. This is a long process and can take many years.  The first step involves being placed on the Irish Tentative List which is due to be finalised by Spring 2021.   It is hoped to commence work on the conservation of Valentia Cable Station during 2021 with financial support from the Rural Regeneration Development Fund. Fáilte Ireland has approved grant support for a Cable Museum on the ground floor and an innovation hub employing up to 50 people is planned at first floor level. The Cable Station was chosen by Kerry County Council and the DRCD as one of the first Broadband Connection Points (or BCPs) to be rolled out under the National Broadband Plan.

The Council is working closely with the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, who manage the UNESCO process in Ireland, the Department of Rural and Community Development, the Valentia Island Development Company, Valentia Trans-Atlantic Cable Foundation and the Government of Newfoundland Labrador in Canada and other national and international groups to meet the strict criteria demanded for World Heritage designation.

 

 

 

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Kerry County Council
Tourism Department
Co Buildings,
Rathass,
Tralee,
Co. Kerry
Tel: 066/7183642
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