Clare’s Premier Tourism Resort to lose its Tourist Office – BREEN

January 29th, 2010 - Pat Breen

Fine Gael’s Deputy Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Clare T.D. Pat Breen has attacked Shannon Developments plans to close the Tourist Office in Kilkee, claiming that it flies in the face of their tourism remit. Deputy Breen has appealed to Shannon Development to go back to the drawing board adding that “closing the tourist office in Clare’s Premier Resort in Kilkee will see the town wiped off the map.”

Deputy Breen’s comments follow confirmation from Shannon Development that following a review of the future of the Kilkee Tourist Office operation that the Office will not reopen for the 2010 Season. Instead, what Shannon Development is proposing is the establishment of a ‘Visitor Information Point’ in the town; which Shannon Development claim will be the “template for the development of a new service in the entire region for the future.”

“This is not the way forward and Shannon Development is opting out of their responsibility for tourism promotion in the West Clare town and the Loop Head Peninsula. Kilkee is a top tourist attraction for over 200 years in West Clare and the entire area is enhanced by the tourist product which is available throughout the West Clare Peninsula, the Loop Head Drive, West Clare Railway, Shannon Dolphins, and Doonbeg Bog. Kilkee continues to attract a large number of visitors especially during the Summer Season who are attracted to the town to enjoy the range of facilities and good cuisine which is available in Kilkee, Carrigaholt, Doonbeg and Kilbaha and to participate in the various water sports which are available whether it is surfing, fishing or visiting Kilkee Waterworld.”

“Tourism is a significant contributor to the economy of West Clare and at a time when the Mid West Task Force Report pointed to the fact that there has been a significant decline in the growth of visitor numbers in the Shannon Region, it is very surprising therefore that Shannon Development are closing the doors on the Tourist Office in Kilkee. It also goes against the mission statement and efforts of the West Clare Tourism Task Force, who are currently trying to promote tourism and economic development in the West Clare area and which is made up of West Clare Local Authority members working in conjunction with Shannon Development. Instead of turning the key and closing the door of the Tourist Office in the town, Shannon Development should be looking at developing the tourism product that West Clare has to offer. Tourism promotion should be about encouraging tourists to stay longer in our area, not drive them out of it.”
“Failure to promote West Clare as a tourism destination will have serious implications for the economy of West Clare and the reality is that traffic off the ferry in Killimer will simply bypass the West Clare Town.”

“I am very disappointed that Shannon Development did not seriously consider the opportunity to incorporate the Tourism Office in to the Sweeney Memorial Library which is being transformed at present. The Library is an ideal location and as a focal point in Kilkee, it would be easily accessible for tourists. It would also have facilitated the traditional service which was provided from the Tourism office in the Town, in a modern building.”

“Clare’s Premier Tourist Resort in Kilkee will be wiped off the map, if Shannon Development does not reverse this decision and I would appeal to them have a re-think and do not abandon West Clare.”