A TOURIST route that’s aim is to encourage tourism in the greater Louth and Meath area, has nearly exclusively ignored north Louth.
The new €220,000 driving route for counties Meath and Louth was launched by Leo Varadkar this week, but sadly does not include any site North of Monasterboice.
The Boyne Valley Drive, 225 kilometres in length and taking in 22 historic sites along the way, is a collaborative project between Fáilte Ireland and the local authorities in Meath and Louth which seeks to revitalise the region and promote it as a must-visit destination for overseas tourists.
The new route will promote the area as one of world renowned heritage with some of the best examples to be found anywhere. The sites featured along the way include Bru Na Boinne (the UNESCO World Heritage sites at Newgrange Knowth Dowth), Trim Castle, Monasterboice, Slane Castle and Mellifont Abbey
Speaking at the launch at the Battle of the Boyne site, Minister Varadkar said –
“The Boyne Valley features international sites like Newgrange, alongside some hidden gems. This new route brings all these sites together into a single package which can be promoted within Ireland and around the world.
“A significant number of tourists are interested in culture and heritage on their travels, and tours like this are particularly popular with British visitors. This route will place the Boyne Valley firmly on their list of options. The challenge now for us is to take this asset and sell it well.”
Phase one of the project, which included signage along the route, is almost complete and plans are underway for the next phase regarding the layout and design of the sites to ensure a cohesive look to the drive.
A full promotional programme both at home and overseas is also gaining momentum. The local Head of Operations for Fáilte Ireland, Kevin Moriarty emphasised:
“This new route - with its strong brand and emphasis on our cultural heritage – gives tourism in the north east a compelling hook to lure the extra visitors and revenue that this region is well placed to deliver.”
An ongoing programme of promotion in the main overseas markets is already underway and the Drive is already receiving visits and interest from overseas operators. A number of tourism businesses from the Boyne Valley and from the local heritage attractions have already taken part in promotional visits to the Netherlands and Germany where the Boyne Valley Drive has featured in Tour Operator Publications for the 2013 season.