I am confident that the Regenerative Tourism plan for the Midlands will deliver for employment, enterprise and the environment.
In December 2022 Failte Ireland was awarded funding of €68m under the EU Just Transition Fund for a Regenerative Tourism and Place Making Scheme for Ireland’s
Following a briefing on the scheme, I was reassured that it will deliver for those communities most impacted by the move from peat fired energy generation. I was told that schemes will be open for application as early as June and I hope to see many Laois and Offaly projects benefit.
Regenerative tourism is not rocket science: Instead it asks us to identify the assets we already have, in terms of nature, culture and infrastructure. Can we re-imagine them as having tourism potential? Of course, we must do this in a way that nurtures rather than exploits them. We have a rich industrial heritage in the Midlands, a wide range of experiences to offer and a wealth of stories to tell: Tourism trends tell us this is what visitors want.
At the briefing Failte Ireland outlined the 4 strands of the Plan: Trail development on old railways through rehabilitated wetlands, support for amenities and experiences, low-carbon alternative accommodation and smart solutions/digitisation for the tourism sector.
I am particularly excited about the prospect of a strategic network of connected walking, cycling and water trails across the Midlands. Trails will inter-connect with the existing and emerging Greenway network and include the repurposing of former narrow gauge rail track. I believe that experience and infrastructure projects which fit into and enhance this network will be particularly welcome.
I raised the importance of public information sessions and was told they were in the pipeline for delivery as soon as possible.
This funding will be available to individuals, businesses and social enterprises: Anyone who has new vision for old infrastructure or the potential to develop new, low carbon projects. These will enhance and sustain local economies and employment. I am aware that there are communities and businesses with very innovative plans already. Failte Ireland assure me they are looking forward to hearing from you and I encourage people to step forward with your ideas.
Get in touch if you need to know your regional contact for Failte Ireland.