Donegal North East representatives Pádraig MacLochlainn and Charlie McConalouge have written to the organisation to urge the inclusion of west and north Donegal in the ‘Wild Atlantic Drive’ initiative.
Over the weekend donegaldaily.com was inundated with tourism operators including restauranteur and B&B owners hitting out after the tourist organisation said the drive from west Cork would not come any further north than the famous sea cliffs.
Deputy MacLochlainn said he wants the route to start in Derry City so that visitors from America and continental Europe can take in all of Donegal.
In his letter to Fáilte Ireland he urged them “to ensure that all of Donegal’s fantastic coastline is incorporated into your exciting plans for the ‘Wild Atlantic Drive’.”
He went on: “If one of the starting or end points of the drive were to be Derry City, then you could include the “Inishowen 100”, Letterkenny, the “Atlantic Drive” around the Fanad and Rosguill peninsulas, and then take in the breathtaking Atlantic drive down West Donegal from Dunfanaghy to Sliabh League’s cliffs.”
“There is real concern in North and West Donegal that we will be left out of this initiative and for a region working really hard to improve and market our tourism offer, this would be a real blow and the fact that Fáilte Ireland would preside over it, all the worse.
“I trust that you will work with the tourism promoters in North and West Donegal to ensure that they are part of your plans.”
Donegal North East Fianna Fáil TD Charlie McConalogue has welcomed news of the Atlantic Drive tourism initiative and insists that Ireland’s most northerly point is the obvious choice to start or end the route.
Deputy McConalogue said: “Banba’s Crown Malin Head is Ireland’s most northerly point and it makes sense that the Atlantic Drive route would start or end here. It is an amazing place with stunning views and there are efforts locally to establish a visitors’ centre there.
“The Atlantic Drive route would contribute greatly to this cause. I believe it is an exciting initiative and could boost tourism significantly. People love Ireland for our culture, hospitality and spectacular scenery. There is significant potential for tourism with relatively small investment required for outdoor activities which maximise our best resource, our natural environment.
“I believe that with the right mix of support from Fáilte Ireland and coordinated efforts, tourism providers will rise to the challenge of delivering a natural tourism product.
“I understand that the route has not yet been fully determined but I do believe it must embrace the entire County of Donegal. I have contacted Fáilte Ireland to put the case for the route beginning or ending at Banba’s Crown, Malin Head and continuing through Inishowen. I think it not only makes sense but will make for a spectacular route,” said Deputy McConalogue.
Meanwhile Coilte is to launch off-road biking routes in Co Donegal, says TD Joe McHugh.
The first route will be announced in the next few weeks, he said.
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