AN Achill councillor has called on Mayo County Council to spend up to €1 million per annum on the promotion of tourism in the county if they want the county to be a major tourism destination.
Mayo County Council allocated €250,000 towards the promotion of tourism in the county in the 2018 budget but Achill councillor Paul McNamara believes that it needs to be increased if they are to capitalise on what the county has to offer.
“We passed a budget of €130 million and of that €250,000 was allocated towards the promotion of tourism in the county. If we are to be serious about making Mayo one of the leading tourism attractions in the country and compete with the Kerrys of this world we need to put a lot more into the promotion of tourism,” he said.
The Fianna Fáil councillor brought up the matter at a recent Tourism and Food SPC meeting and said the county needed to capitalise on the success of the Wild Atlantic Way and the Greenway.
“The Wild Atlantic Way has been brilliant for tourism in Mayo there is no question about that. It has brought tourists around the coast to places like Achill which has five Blue Flag beaches and has worked a treat. But there is very little information along the route about the area and we need to improve the infrastructure in these areas. There are very few public toilets and services for tourists to avail of.
“If we are to be serious about promoting tourism, €250,000 is not near adequate. I believe we have to be spending up to €1m on the promotion of tourism and also to develop our infrastructure along the Wild Atlantic Way. There is no reason why we cannot be the Kingpins of the Wild Atlantic Way if we are promoted right but we need the funding from Mayo County Council and other government departments to make that happen,” he said.
Cllr McNamara described the Greenway as ‘the jewel in the crown’ in tourism attractions in Mayo but believes the €100,000 allocated for its maintenance is not adequate to make sure its kept to high standards. He said loop walks such as the Slí Gráinne Mhaol on Achill have proved to be a success and called for more investment in loop walks.
Cllr McNamara praised the current promotion of tourism by Mayo County Council and cited the award-winning promotional adventure film, ‘Between the Wind and the Waves’ which was shot in Achill as an example of what can be achieved when funding is made available.