The future of Killarney’s tourism industry is being safeguarded and the town’s reputation as the country’s premier tourist destination is being copper-fastened by the development of a Killarney specific Fáilte Ireland Destination Experience Development Plan.
That’s the view of Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce President, Niall Kelleher, who was speaking following the formal launch of the project at a reception in Killarney House and Gardens this Tuesday.
The destination development plan is designed to build a new and collective vision for tourism in Killarney and to enhance the way in which visitors experience the town while maximising its role as the principal exploration base for the wider Kerry tourism economy.
The Chamber President said the five-year plan will provide a clear development focus and it will harness existing strategic plans as well as examining new projects to enhance Killarney’s long-held reputation as a world class holiday destination.
Mr Kelleher said it is hugely positive to note that central to the development theme will be the adoption of a very responsible and carefully choreographed approach to maximise potential of Killarney’s natural assets, primarily Killarney National Park.
“The plan will build on and extend the existing culture and heritage of Killarney through the creation of cultural quarters, creating strong new links between areas of historic and cultural significance and the core town experience,” he said.
The Chamber President said it was very much in line with current Kerry County Council policy that the Fáilte Ireland vision for Killarney supports universal access and the transition from an over-reliance on vehicular traffic to pedestrian priority and new cycle paths.
“The plan is all about sustainability and ensuring we prepare properly for the future. It is designed to encourage visitors to stay longer in Killarney and to consider it as a base to explore other parts of the county and the Wild Atlantic Way,” Mr Kelleher said.
He believes Killarney needs to remain competitive to extend the tourist season and the plan will help to address the festering problem of low occupancy in the shoulder months
Mr Kelleher noted that the Fáilte Ireland led plan, which will pull together the experiences of Killarney’s business community, Chamber members, the statutory bodies and the National Parks and Wildlife Service, is designed to address the new challenges around re-establishing visitor numbers post pandemic, rebuilding domestic and overseas visitor revenue and securing local employment with a longer-term focus on developing destination resilience.
“Killarney’s world class destination status requires a new development focus to ensure the town experience matches the quality of its stunning natural environment. This plan will develop a coherent Killarney brand and deliver a series of projects that will collectively become transformational in the performance of Killarney.
“At the same time, it will address the challenges identified during the consultation process,” Mr Kelleher said.
The Chamber President said the priorities for Killarney under the Destination Experience Development Plan are to grow year-round business via an extended season, refresh the Killarney brand with the inclusion of all stakeholders and to develop the urban realm to introduce visitors to the full range of Killarney experiences by sharing with them the complete Killarney story.
Mr Kelleher thanked Fáilte Ireland, its chief executive Paul Kelly and its board of directors, for their foresight, their professionalism and their support of Killarney and for the great skill and determination they have demonstrated in steering Destination Experience Development Plan through the various stages.
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