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Tag Archives: tourism

Staycation honeymooners provide Clare tourism boost

A BOOST to hotel trade in parts of Clare has come in the form of newly-weds honeymooning at home this year. With a raft of Covid-19 related rules curtailing the size of gatherings at weddings, many have opted to defer their nuptials, but those who are tying the knot in the time of coronavirus, are providing tourism operations with a very welcome staycation boost. “I have seen a lot of Irish honeymooners coming to Clare,” said Lahinch hotelier Michael Vaughan. “My stocks of champagne are much depleted and anecdotally I’m hearing that couples who are staying in the country for their honeymoons are getting to discover what the country has to offer. I think there is a silver lining here in that people are quite surprised by what their own country has to offer.” In terms of his own business, the former Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) president said that while visitor numbers had been strong in August, he estimate that …

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Anger as pensioners excluded from Stay and Spend scheme

THE exclusion of pensioners from a new tourism stimulus scheme for the off-peak season has been described as “a real slap in the face” by the Shannon-based President of Active Retirement Ireland. Kay Murphy told The Champion the terms of the new Stay and Spend scheme, which provides a tax rebate on certain tourism products and services, “victimised” those on State pensions. The initiative, which allows people to claim 20% back on up to €625 spent between October and April of next year, excludes anyone who does not pay tax. “I’m very disappointed about this, so many of our members are dependent solely on the State pension,” Mrs Murphy said. “Because they don’t pay tax any more, they’re not eligible for the scheme.” Mrs Murphy noted that the value of Active Retirement members to the tourism sector had been valued last year at €13.5m and that their exclusion from the scheme made no sense. “At this stage, those of us …

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Hopes for salvation of East Clare tourism season

HOPES continue to be expressed that the tourism season in East Clare can be salvaged to some degree, despite the severe blow dealt to the region by Covid-19. Chairperson of East Clare Tourism Arlene White said the season to-date “has not been a total washout” and that the potential of the area to offer people activities in nature and at uncrowded locations continued to be realised. “It is nothing like it should be, naturally,” she said. “People are out and about walking and kayaking though and it’s not quite bad as people had feared.” There is a widespread acknowledgement that, when it comes to accommodation, self-catering providers are faring best. “In some cases,” Arlene said, “demand is out-stripping supply and self-catering is booming.” That situation contrasts with the plight faced by traditional Bed and Breakfast accommodation. “I do know of some in East Clare who have decided, for the protection of their own health, that they won’t open this year,” …

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New walking trail developed for 12 O’Clock Hills

THE jewel in the crown of tourism in South East Clare has been enhanced even further, with the development of a third walking trail at the 12 O’Clock Hills, which is set to open to the public this weekend. The new 13km route is a looped trail, and sets out from the new car park at Belvoir Trailhead. It initially takes the same route as the two current Red and Blue trails. It then turns right at the exit from the Crag River Walk section at Crag Bridge. From here, the trail continues for approximately 200m on the public road, and then takes a right turn down an old Famine road (marked with an information board). A left turn takes the walker up an old boreen which links to a Coillte-generated road. Further along this road, there is a left turn and uphill climb of 252m to whet a hill walker’s appetite. This hill is known locally as Loughavarra in …

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More measures needed to boost tourism – Michael Vaughan

HOTEL closures imposed by Covid-19 restrictions has cost a Lahinch hotelier a drop of €425,000 in turnover at the end of July compared with the corresponding period last year. Michael Vaughan who runs Vaughan Lodge predicts that regardless what happens for the remainder of the tourism season 2020 will be a loss-making year. Commenting on the publication of the new coalition’s much anticipated July Stimulus, the former Irish Hotels’ Federation (IHF) president also estimates he is unlikely to do one tenth of the turnover he generated last year. Mr Vaughan expressed disappointment over the government’s decision to leave the tourism 13.5% VAT rate for accommodation and food unchanged in line with their counterparts in Northern Ireland who are now benefiting from a 5% rate. He claimed the new Staycation tax rebate involved a very complicated system, which has excluded a large amount of people who may not have the income to benefit from this initiative. In view of the fact …

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Tributes paid as tourism campaign brings staycationing Tánaiste to Clare

TÁNAISTE Leo Varadkar was welcomed to Clare by members of the local authority, along with the thousands of others who have chosen this county for their staycation this summer. Warm tributes were paid by councillors on the success of a major tourism marketing campaign, launched in conjunction with the re-opening of the country and the easing of some lockdown restrictions. Calling on the council to provide extra support for the county’s tourism networks, Councillor Joe Killeen said it was wonderful to see so many people “staycating” in Clare, and that extra resources should be given to local organisations to enable them to offer visitors the best possible experience. “Around a quarter of Clare people work in tourism,” the Fianna Fáil member noted. “The sector is vital. Clare gets around 5% of all domestic tourism on average and I would expect that to be much higher this year. We have huge strengths in our tourism networks and huge expertise because they …

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Where West Magazine

Where West Magazine FREE in this week’s Clare Champion

The Wild Atlantic Way is inspiring, renewing, relaxing and invigorating and this week The Clare Champion, in collaboration with The Connacht Tribune, will publish the third edition of ‘Where West’ magazine, the ultimate guide to planning your staycation holiday along the west coast of Ireland. ‘Where West’ magazine is designed to help readers get the most out of their daytrip or long weekend in both Clare and Galway post Covid-19 lockdown. The magazine is packed with local information, hidden gems and plenty of things to do in both counties. All along the Wild Atlantic Way, the world’s longest defined coastal touring route, the spectacular scenery embellishes the tourism offering from quaint eateries, to pretty seaside villages, sandy bays and cliff top walks. Clare Champion managing director, John Galvin said Clare is renowned for its tourism offering and the development of the Wild Atlantic Way has added another important string to its bow. “In so many ways, counties Clare and Galway …

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Social distancing focus for peak holiday season

AS THE height of the holiday season draws closer, authorities are to step-up efforts to ensure people enjoy their time in Clare safety. Concerns have been voiced by some members of the council that a recent influx of visitors is putting public health and safety at risk, while a senior Garda spokesperson urged people to remember their personal responsibility in minimising the risk of a second wave of Covid-19. At the July meeting of Clare County Council, a number of members were torn between welcoming the economic boost created by the spike in visitor numbers and concerns that social distancing guidelines are being flouted in some areas. “We welcome everybody to County Clare,” said Councillor Ann Norton. “We are still in a pandemic and it is hugely important that people take heed of public health advice, whether they are here for a holiday or on a day trip. Visitors are hugely welcome, but people must be kept safe.” Councillor Johnny Flynn also voiced some …

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