The Elected Members of Galway County Council have adopted the first ever tourism strategy for County Galway, Ireland’s leading cultural and natural heritage tourism destination.
The County Galway Tourism Strategy 2023-2031 sets out to spread the benefits of Galway’s growing tourism economy across the wider county, promote sustainable tourism development, and support existing and create new jobs across the sector. The tourism plan also is targeting a 10% increase in overall visitor spend by 2030 with a particular focus on attracting visitors who stay longer and spend more in Galway’s towns and villages.
As the most visited destination outside of Dublin, Galway benefits considerably from tourism – with 984,000 domestic trips and 1.7 million overseas visitors contributing €754 million in tourism expenditure.
According to Liam Carroll, Cathaoirleach of Galway County Council, “The level of engagement by public bodies, private enterprises, communities and individuals in the development of this strategy underlines the far-reaching significance and benefits of tourism. This partnership approach provides a solid and positive basis for the further development of tourism across our unique county, and I have no doubt that this strategy will serve visitors and communities across the county well in the coming years.”
“The adoption of this strategy means that, for the first time, there is a collaborative framework in place for the development of tourism over the next eight years across the County,” commented Liam Conneally, Chief Executive of Galway County Council. “The Strategy is built around four strategic areas, each with key actions and recommendations and is also supported by the identification of six Development Zones that ensure more targeted interventions where they are required to address more local challenges and opportunities.”
Mr. Conneally continued, “This tourism strategy represents an opportunity to support existing and create new employment, establish sustainability as a foundation for the future, and will extend the benefits of tourism to less-visited areas.”
Alan Farrell, Director of Services with Galway County Council described the Strategy as “an important milestone’ for Galway tourism.
“The Strategy provides a roadmap that will unlock the social, cultural and economic potential of tourism across the entire county, doing this in a sustainable manner,” he added. “By enhancing our thriving tourism industry and leveraging the successes of key destinations, the Strategy will build on the collaborative approach that has been taken in the county over many years and it will complement the regional strategies for the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands.”
Commenting on the Strategy’s goal of spreading the economic benefit of tourism across the wider county, Galway County Council Tourism Officer John Neary said, “Not all areas of the County are equally well-known. Core infrastructure – such as accommodation and attractions – is clustered in particular areas, naturally following the patterns of highest visitor demand. One of the challenges of this strategy, therefore, is to seek to manage well-developed tourism areas within the County with the further growth of less-established areas.”
“This strategy, the Implementation Plan for which will be published in 2024, will seek to stimulate tourism development throughout Galway, enhancing it in areas that already strong and nurturing it in areas that are less mature from a tourism perspective with a commitment to delivering economic, social, cultural, and environmental benefits to diverse locations and communities,” concluded Mr. Neary.
The County Galway Tourism Strategy 2023-2031 will be formally launched in early 2024.