Tuesday, 16 June 2009
Dáil Eireann Debate
60. Deputy Brian O’Shea asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism if dedicated funding is being provided from his Department towards promoting cultural tourism in 2009 and beyond; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23605/09]
Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism (Deputy Martin Cullen): As I informed the Dáil on 3 March, I met with the heads of fifteen State tourism agencies, State arts bodies, and the cultural institutions, on 11 February, to begin the work of further developing the cultural tourism market. This was the first step in putting in place an initiative to further develop the potential of cultural tourism.
This initiative will build, in the first instance, on cooperation and synergy between the bodies and institutions under the aegis of the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism. I wish to set in train a programme of specific actions, by these bodies, that will enable Ireland to more effectively market cultural tourism and address the needs of overseas and domestic tourists who wish to experience Ireland’s cultural and artistic resources. It is not envisaged that such actions will necessarily require additional funding as existing general resources and programmes are likely to be capable of being employed to support the objectives of this initiative.
A high level Steering Group has been established to identify actions that will benefit Ireland’s attractiveness as a destination for cultural tourism, and set in place the steps necessary to achieve these actions, by the end of 2009. I am informed that, to date, the Steering Group has encouraged and facilitated a closer level of co-operation between the National Cultural Institutions and Dublin Tourism, that will provide practical benefits in the future marketing of those Cultural Institutions that are based in Dublin. The Steering Group is also working to assist and facilitate a promising new cultural event, that will combine the existing resources of numerous artistic groups to create an event of scale which will be a tourism attraction in its own right.
In 2009, the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism and its agencies are providing funding from within their existing general resources and programmes for the promotion of cultural tourism under a number of headings.
Fáilte Ireland continues to operate the Festivals and Cultural Events Initiative, the objective of which is to expand regional tourism through festivals and cultural events. The management of this Initiative is a day-to-day matter for Fáilte Ireland. In addition the Arts Council has been asked to continue to prioritize its support for festivals.
The Department is providing substantial funding towards Culture Night, which is being extended this year to a number of additional centres around the country. In addition, the funding for the Regional Museums Scheme is being focused on cultural tourism.
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