Wednesday, 21 October 2009
Dáil Eireann Debate
123. Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism if he has published a strategy to develop the cultural tourism product; the action he has taken with regard to developing a strategy for cultural tourism; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37381/09]
Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism (Deputy Martin Cullen): I wish to advise the Deputy that, in accordance with the provisions of section 8(1) of the National Tourism Development Authority Act, 2003, it is a day to day matter for Fáilte Ireland to encourage, promote and support either inside or outside the State (a) the development of Tourism traffic within and to the state and (b) the development and marketing of tourist facilities and services within the State.
In the context of my Department’s role as the parent Department for a number of agencies and institutions in the tourism and culture sectors, I gave an undertaking to the Fáilte Ireland National Conference in November 2008, to put in place an initiative to develop the exciting potential of cultural tourism, that would focus on increasing the extent to which the organisations under the aegis of my Department would combine their expertise and resources in this area.
The Cultural Tourism Initiative was subsequently launched in February 2009, when I hosted a meeting with the heads of the State tourism agencies, cultural institutions and arts bodies. I set out the areas in which I wished to see progress, including enhancing the availability of information on cultural attractions and events and establishing a network for State agencies and institutions in the arts, culture and tourism spheres to improve interaction and further develop Ireland as a destination for cultural tourism.
A Steering Group, consisting of representatives of the Department, State tourism agencies, cultural institutions and State arts organisations was established to identify and pursue specific actions in line with the goals of the Initiative. Actions taken to date have included
In addition, a new performing arts event is being used to evaluate best practice for future developments in cultural tourism. The Cultural Tourism Initiative is also working with the Irish Film Board to encourage the use of locations of cultural value in Ireland as venues for film and television production, and Culture Night 2009 was successfully expanded to 11 towns and cities.
Separately, the Department facilitated a recent meeting between the OPW and the Irish Tour Operators Association (ITOA) to assist in the development of the tourism potential of the heritage sites under the care of the OPW.
Finally, the current Discover Ireland Autumn holiday supplement, which has been distributed through the print media and tourist offices, highlights the many cultural attractions available for free or at discounted rates across the country to encourage domestic tourists to explore our rich cultural heritage.
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