“The success of the Wild Atlantic Way can be replicated on the east coast, particularly when it comes to sustainable tourism. Areas like Carlingford and the wider Cooley Peninsula have the potential to draw in more tourists outside the traditional holiday season through the development of niche attractions and sustainable visitor experiences. However, we must ensure that the correct infrastructure is in place and that there is no adverse impact to the environment. It’s crucial that all stakeholders come together to strengthen sustainable tourism in the area which would lead to further job creation and a provide a boost to the Louth economy. This could also feed into plans for a tourism trail from Carlingford Lough to Cobh called ‘The Irish Sea Way’. The National Programme for Government commits to a consultation process with communities along the eastern and southern coastline as part of the project while plans for greenways are already progressing. International visitors want greener options when it comes to tourism and there is nowhere as green as Ireland to offer them that choice.”
Based on research carried out SEMRU (Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit) based at University College Galway, Ireland more than 77% of respondents had actively engaged in marine related activities, on either day or overnight trips, during the year 2018. The most popular land-based coastal activities were walking/running along the coast/beach/cliffs/etc., beach or seaside trips, and coastal sightseeing. The most popular water-based activities were sea swimming, surfing, recreational boating of different types and sea angling. Significant differences in participation rates were observed across a number of socio-demographic classifications including age, social class and education attainment levels. The results also indicate that domestic tourists undertake the majority of their marine activities on the West and South coasts of Ireland.
Coastal tourism and Blue experience operators are aware that marine active tourists have been shown to spend more and stay longer than the average tourist: Traditionally, the overseas market is often the main focus of the development agencies, the domestic marine tourism market offers significant opportunities for growth. Given the sector will, for the present, have to focus on the domestic side of the market in the short to medium term, now is the ideal opportunity to explore innovations in delivering new visitor experiences and marine tourism products aimed at the home market. Tourism in Ireland like all Destinations are looking to domestic demand for recovery — and the evidence points to the huge potential for coastal and marine tourism to contribute to rebooting activity in this sector.
Ahearne, A., Hynes, S. (2021) Challenges and Opportunities for Ireland’s Major Ocean Economy Industries. Whitaker Institute, NUI Galway.