DUNDALK Chamber of Commerce has welcomed the 1.4m euro investment in a geo-tourism project for the Cooley mountains and Slieve Gullion area. Brendan McSherry, Louth Heritage Officer, told a cross-border tourism conference that the project would be part of future plans to use local heritage to promote the economic development of a cross-border area.
The conference was organised by the Chamber in association with Eures Cross Border Partnership and the business support unit of Louth Local Authorities.
Over 240 delegates from all over Ireland came to hear a full and exciting line-up of high profile national and international expert speakers at the Ballymacscanlon conference.
Other speakers included: Liz Kennedy-Burke from Kennedy Burke and Associates;
Dr Sheila Flanagan and Dr Kevin Griffin both from The College of Arts and Tourism Dublin Institute of Technology;
Dervla O’Neill from Digital Marketing Institute; Peter Nash from Tourism Ireland and Malcolm Bell, Head of Visit Cornwall.
Dundalk Chamber is part of a European Commission network called EURES (European Employment Services).
EURES advisers are trained specialists who provide information and guidance to jobseekers and employers interested in the European labour market and Cross Border Working.
The geo tourism project could give a whole new dimension to the cross-border tourism idea.
The 1.4m investment has been welcomed by Dundalk Chamber of Commerce President Paddy Malone.
Mr Malone said it is investment of this kind that will finally put an end to Dundalk and Newry competing economically instead of combining their resources.
There are only three of these tourism projects in the country so this is seen as a major coup for Louth.
The development comes as a result of the work carried out by the Louth Economic Forum which has launched a number of action plans to promote the county’s economy.
It has also been aided by the Memorandum of Understanding signed in Brussels by Louth Local Authorities and Newry and Mourne District Council.
“Louth along with Newry and Mourne made history in signing the Memorandum of Understanding,” according to Mr Michael Curran, Director of Economic and Cross Border Development at Louth County Council.
“Everyone in the Joint Council Committee is looking to build on that success”.
The Louth Economic Forum has launched several action plans to boosts the county’s economy including a tourism plan which is headed by Ray Carroll.
It was this plan that called for the development of the Mourne and Cooley areas in a cross-border project.
The plan urges people to support local festivals and tourism. The Poc Fada, Carlingford Oyster Festival, the Annagassan Viking Festival are just some of the summer events that boost local business.
Louth Local Authorities is spending more on supporting local tourism, according to Nessa McCartan of Louth Local Authorities business support unit.
They are involved in all aspects of tourism, especially the work of the Louth Tourism and Heritage Forum.
They are also working closely with Fáilte Ireland, Tourism Ireland, the Heritage Council, and the Office of Public Works to develop local tourism projects as well as maintaining amenities.