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Tag Archives: tourism

Different views for future Shannon Heritage ownership

THE government has been urged to put a strategic plan in place to support the development of Shannon Airport and tourism attractions this year. This issue was raised by Deputy Michael McNamara in the Dáil recently when he reminded An Taoiseach Micheál Martin that he highlighted the Shannon Group, Shannon Airport and their pivotal role for the economic well being of the Mid-West following his elevation six months ago. Deputy McNamara asked what plan is in place to support aviation and tourism across the Mid-West in 2020. “What is the plan for Shannon Heritage? The two sites that have opened are closing on January 3. It is planned to open the sites again in April, but Shannon Heritage remains in the Shannon Group with a commercial mandate and the sites ill fit a commercial mandate because while they generate money, they generate money more broadly in the economy than they do within the group itself. The Taoiseach acknowledged this “serious” …

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New tourism plan aims to offset impact of Covid crisis

A DEEP crisis facing the tourism sector in Clare was acknowledged as a new plan was approved by councillors this week to guide the industry for the next decade. The role of tourism as the county’s largest indigenous employer was highlighted, with hopes expressed by some members that the authority might play a role in securing a national cultural centre for Clare. Outlining the impact of Covid-19 on tourism at the monthly meeting of Clare County Council, Director of Service Leonard Cleary noted that the new plan had had to take account of the pandemic. Head of Tourism Deirdre O’Shea agreed that against that backdrop, the strategy was vital. “The local tourism economy is in deep crisis,” she said. “Having a strategy is more important than ever for the next ten years.” Ms O’Shea outlined the risk to the 12,000 jobs dependent on tourism, as well as to the €266 million generated annually by the sector. “The strategy is still …

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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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