Hoteliers urged to follow example of Waterford Greenway development

Trail’s success was achieved by local authorities working with tourism, State and business interests, conference is told

A file photograph of  walkers in the Ballyvoyle tunnel outside Dungarvan on the Waterford Greenway. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

A file photograph of walkers in the Ballyvoyle tunnel outside Dungarvan on the Waterford Greenway. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

 

The Waterford Greenway attracted 250,000 visitors between March and December 2017 with each visitor spending an average of €28.50 - or €109.50 if they stayed the night, the Irish Hotels Federation annual conference has been told.

The Greenway, a 46km off-road cycling and walking trail along an old railway line between Waterford and Dungarvan with spectacular coastal views opened in March 2017 – 50 years after after the last passenger train travelled the route

Ann Doherty, chief executive of Cork City Council, said the greenway was an example of what could be achieved by local authorities – in partnership with tourism, State and business interests – since local Government reforms published in 2012 strengthened the authorities enterprise functions.

Ms Doherty also referenced the development of Spike Island, which is now run as a tourist attraction by Cork County Council. The island, which once included a sixth-century monastery and was the largest convict depot in the world in Victorian times, was the winner of Europe’s Leading Tourist Attraction award in 2017, she said.

Ms Doherty also noted the Centre Parcs development in Co Longford – which, she said, was significantly aided by Longford County Council working with the developers and State agencies. The €233 million holiday centre is due to open to guests this summer.

Festivals were another form of enterprise which local authorities could support and promote, she said.

Pointing to the Cork jazz festival, she said the even was worth in excess of €25 million to Cork city annually.

She said local authorities had tremendous scope for involvement in or the running of historic houses, castles, gardens, blueways and greenways – and even lighthouses and habitat trails.

Ms Doherty encouraged hoteliers to make contact with their local enterprise offices to see what supports were available.