Sustainable tourism for Carlingford will create jobs, says Dundalk senator

Michelle O'Keeffe

Reporter:

Michelle O'Keeffe

Sustainable tourism the way forward  Carlingford, says Dundalk senator

Carlingford village

Sustainable tourism is the way forward for the village of Carlingford, according to Senator John McGahon.

Speaking recently in the Seanad on a debate on tourism Senator John McGahon emphasised the importance of sustainable tourism.

"Tourism that fully takes account of economic, social and environmental impacts is so important", he said.

"Sustainable tourism should ultimately be committed to having a low impact on local culture and the environment but should be looking to generate future employment for local people.

"Sustainable tourism is the way forward for the village of Carlingford.

"We have approximately 1,200 to 1,500 people who are involved in the tourism sector in a village like Carlingford and last summer, Carlingford definitely had one of the busiest summers on record as a result of the calls for people to staycation.

"In my view, sustainable tourism is where a village like Carlingford can be a nice place to live and to raise a family.

"At the same time, it can be a vibrant and enjoyable place for tourists to come and experience.

"It works well for visitors in terms of tourists and residents alike.

"We really need to focus on that promotion of sustainable tourism in rural villages.

"Westport, County Mayo, is a good example of how people have really acted well with sustainable tourism and made it work. "One issue we must consider is the recent planning legislation, which states a person cannot rent out a residential unit for a certain amount of days of the year under Airbnb.

"Problems will arise if the legislation is enforced too strictly by local authorities.

"A village like Carlingford, which has three small hotels and a couple of places offering bed and breakfast accommodation, does not have much capacity to sustain the level of tourists unless Airbnb is added into the equation. Consequently, if we are going to clamp down on people who provide Airbnb accommodation throughout the year, it will have a real impact on the capacity of such small villages to take tourists and visitors.

"Carlingford has so much potential and even as far back as 2008, The European Destination of Excellence, awarded Carlingford an award under the theme of intangible heritage. Intangible heritage is not easily identifiable and is not something one can see or touch. “It is the stories, folklore, legends and character that seep through the landscape of a medieval village like Carlingford” Senator McGahon concluded.