Kerry County Council published a new seven-year action plan for tourism in Kerry which was launched at St John’s Theatre in Listowel on Friday 21st October 2016 by the Leas-Cathaoirleach of the Council, Cllr Liam Purtill (See YouTube link below). The County Kerry Tourism Strategy and Action Plan 2016-2022 comes following the most widespread consultation and in-depth analysis of tourism ever undertaken in the county.
“Kerry is Ireland’s premier regional tourist destination,” said Cllr Purtill. “It has been welcoming visitors for generations and today attracts 1.7m overseas and domestic holidaymakers which generate over €420m in tourist-related income for the county. Kerry boasts some of Ireland’s most iconic scenery like the Lakes of Killarney, Skellig Michael, Slea Head Drive and the golden beaches of North Kerry and has the longest section of the new Wild Atlantic Way touring route. It also has vibrant cultural, food and craft sectors and a rich natural, built and linguistic heritage,” he said.
Kerry currently attracts 13% of all overseas visitors to Ireland and one in three American visitors includes Kerry on their itineraries. It has the greatest concentration of tourist accommodation outside of Dublin – up to 50,000 beds in the approved and unapproved sectors. Kerry is also more dependent on tourism than any other county with over 20% of its workforce employed in tourism-related enterprises and has over 9,000 people directly employed in the accommodation and hospitality sectors.
The new report sets out 273 specific actions to be implemented across seven key areas over the short, medium or long term, including:
• Branding and Marketing
• Community Tourism, Events & Festivals
• Enterprise and Innovation
• Environment, Natural & Cultural Heritage
The prioritisation of the extensive number of projects which were agreed following full public consultation was based on the need to:
• Extend the tourism activity into the shoulder season
• The promotion of Kerry’s green and clean image
• Further development of the Wild Atlantic Way and connected loops
• The development of projects with significant visitor appeal
The vision set out in the strategy is “to maximise, in a sustainable manner, tourism’s contribution to the quality of life, economy, employment and local community development, paying particular attention to nurturing and protecting the natural, built, cultural and linguistic heritage of the county.”
Joan McCarthy of Kerry County Council’s Tourism Unit said: “The Tourism Strategy which forms an integral part of Kerry County Council’s Local Economic and Community Plan 2016-2022, is a living document that will respond to new challenges, changing market trends and consumer behaviour and will be reviewed and updated annually.”