Shannon Development launches new ‘Shannon Region Trails Programme’ and pledges €2million support package
Shannon Development seeking proposals for new and upgraded trails
Shannon Development today (Tuesday 15th May ’07) announced a €2 million support package for a new ‘Shannon Region Trails Programme’ which the Company is launching. The aim of the Programme is to establish the Shannon Region as a world-class destination for walking cycling, water-based and other outdoor activity pursuits during the period 2007 – 2010.
Over the course of the comprehensive Programme Shannon Development has committed an initial support package of €2 million to encourage product promoters to develop new and upgrade existing trails. Shannon Development is calling on community groups and product promoters to make submissions to them with project ideas.
The Programme is Shannon Development’s response to national and international tourism trends which show that there is strong demand for interesting, well-serviced trails for walking, cycling, water-based and other outdoor pursuits. Such routes enable holidaymakers to explore the unspoiled areas of the countryside and experience the scenery and hospitality of the people at first hand.
“Over 280,000 overseas visitors participate in walking holidays in Ireland annually generating an estimated spend of €140 million. Over 100,000 overseas cyclists holiday in Ireland annually and spend over €86 million. These figures are set to grow significantly in the coming years. The development of a world class standard recreational trail network will help to grow visitor numbers and secure long term sustainable economic benefits for less developed areas of the Shannon Region,” said Mr. Kevin Thompstone, Chief Executive, Shannon Development.
Mr. Thompstone was speaking at the launch of the Programme which coincided with the launch of the O’Briensbridge Loop Walks, which was developed by the O’Briensbridge/ Clonlara Community groups in association with Shannon Development and Waterways Ireland and with assistance from Clare Co. Council, ESB, Co. Clare Leader and the Heritage Council.
“We were very pleased to have worked in such a great partnership which is an excellent example of how good co-operation can deliver results, and we intend to use this model as a best practice demonstration project for delivery of our wider Shannon Region Trails Programme”, said Mr. Thompstone.
The O’ Briensbridge Loop Walks is part of the Shannon Region Trails Programme.
Three looped walks have been developed as part of this initiative: The Old Barge Loop a 12km route; the Errina Canal Loop a 7km route, and the Parteen Weir Loop a 5km route with an overall combined looped walk of 16km.
“As part of the new Shannon Region Trails Programme, Shannon Development plans to implement a wide-ranging campaign to brand the network of walking, cycling, water based and other outdoor activity trails to highest international standards. We will also develop a dedicated website for trails across the Region as part of an intensive marketing campaign”, said John King, Director, Heritage and Tourism Shannon Development.
One of the top priorities for Shannon Development, under the three year Programme to 2010, will be to develop up to 30 quality Looped Walks in the Shannon Region, to cater for changing trends in visitor requirements. The Company will do this in association with other bodies, including Local Authorities, Local Community groups, the Irish Trails Advisory Committee and Fáilte Ireland through its national Looped Walks initiative.
“Shannon Development began developing walking as a tourism product in the Shannon Region in the early 1990s. Working with other public bodies and local community groups and with financial support under the Operational Programmes for Tourism, the Company has made significant progress in the provision of long- distance marked Walking Ways throughout the Region. As a result 25% of Ireland’s 32 National Way-marked Ways are sited in the Shannon Region and these routes account for approximately 650km of developed walking trails in the region. This new Programme will keep us up- to-date with and hopefully ahead of market trends”, said Flan Quilligan, Tourism Projects Executive, Shannon Development.
Full details on the Shannon Region Trails Programme and an application form can be obtained from Flan Quilligan Tel: 061-710350, or downloaded online at www.ShannonRegionTourism.ie/ShannonRegionTrails
Shannon Development has announced a €2 million support package for the new ‘Shannon Region Trails Programme’ which the Company is launching. The aim of the Programme is to establish the Shannon Region as a world-class destination for walking cycling, water-based and other outdoor activity pursuits during the period 2007 – 2010. At the launch in O’Briensbridge, Co. Clare were: from left: John King, Heritage and Tourism Director, Shannon Development; Brendan Lynch, Tourism Product and innovation Manger, Shannon Development; Flan Quilligan, Tourism Projects Executive, Shannon Development; and Kevin Thompstone, Chief Executive, Shannon Development.