Minister announces €15 million boost for rural tourism as part of new partnership with Coillte

ireland
Minister Announces €15 Million Boost For Rural Tourism As Part Of New Partnership With Coillte Minister Announces €15 Million Boost For Rural Tourism As Part Of New Partnership With Coillte
It is expected that improvements to 3,000 kilometres of walking trails and cycleways will be made with the funding. Photo: Getty Images
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Funding of €15 million has been announced by the Government to boost rural tourism.

The investment is part of a new five-year strategic partnership between the Department of Rural and Community Development and Coillte to develop outdoor recreation facilities across 260 recreational forests and 12 forest parks.

It is expected that improvements to 3,000 kilometres of walking trails and cycleways will be made with the funding.

Making the announcement on Friday, Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys said they partnership will work to attract more visitors to rural Ireland.

“Over the last two years we have seen a major increase in the number of people accessing outdoor recreation infrastructure,” Ms Humphreys said.

“Coillte is uniquely placed to assist us in meeting that demand to ensure that people can continue to enjoy the unique advantages offered by the Irish countryside.”

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During the pandemic, the number of people visiting forest parks and recreation sites doubled at some of Coillte's more popular locations.

Imelda Hurley, chief executive officer of Coillte, commented: “As the largest provider of outdoor recreation space in Ireland, Coillte has an important role in the provision of recreation forests, forest parks, waymarked walking and cycling trails, picnic sites and other facilities to support the growing demand for access to the outdoors.

“We are particularly keen to provide additional facilities at our recreation sites to support our visitor’s experience, such as food & beverage outlets, enhanced trails, waymarking and signage.

“By partnering with local businesses to provide services for visitors, we can increase local and rural economic activity and enable local employment.”

Some planned projects for this year include the construction of a new multi-access trail and a family cycle trail at Avondale Forest Park in Co Wicklow.

Meanwhile, a new access point will be opened at Deerpark forest in Co Cavan with a new car park.

At Donadea Forest Park, Co Kildare, the final phase of works to the entrance road and car park will be carried out, while an unstable embankment will be reinforced at Crough Wood, Co Waterford.

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