Fianna Fáil General Election candidate for Louth Cllr Declan Breathnach is calling on the Government to put in place additional supports in order to grow tourism in the county.

Cllr Breathnach commented, “Louth has been completely overlooked by the Government in recent years when it comes to tourism. Fáilte Ireland has been successful in promoting counties such as Kerry and Galway as tourist destinations, but Louth has been left out of the picture.

“Historically it has been difficult to attract tourists to Louth due to the violence associated with the Troubles, but thankfully this is now behind us. The number of tourists visiting Louth has grown in recent years, but the huge potential that the county has as a tourism destination is still largely been overlooked by tourism bodies.

“We have an opportunity to market Louth as a must visit location for tourists visiting Ireland. The Cooley Peninsula offers scenic views and hiking trails for people wishing to see the Irish countryside. However the biggest problem is that tourists are unaware of what Louth has to offer. The recent allocation of funding for the Ireland Ancient East tourism initiative is a welcome development, but the reality is the money allocated is only a drop in the ocean and is unlikely to make the kind of impact that is needed.

“A co-ordinated effort spearheaded by the Government is needed in order to increase the number of tourists visiting Louth. The county should be front and centre of Fáilte Ireland’s tourism promotion campaigns. An emphasis should be placed on attracting tourists who land at Dublin Airport to visit Louth considering how close the county is to the city. Tour companies should also be offered incentives to visit Louth when they are travelling across Ireland.

“The promotion of tourism was a key aspect of the Good Friday Agreement and commitments were made to grow the number of tourists visiting border counties. These commitments need to be delivered on by the authorities on both sides of the border. Tourism Ireland needs to work with the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport in order to market the Cooley Peninsula as a hidden treasure worth exploring.

“Growing the tourism industry in Louth will help create much needed jobs and will drive up economic activity for companies operating in the county. It makes no sense for the Government to continue to ignore the huge potential that Louth has as a premier tourism destination,” said Cllr Breathnach.