Nestled amidst Ireland's Hidden Heartlands is a beautiful region filled with everything one's heart could possibly desire. Offering so much to locals and visitors alike, the East Clare region captures the hearts and imaginations of everyone.

As a region that benefits significantly from tourism, the previous twelve months were difficult. Although international tourism is set to be off the cards for the peak season, we are optimistic that East Clare will thrive thanks to domestic tourism.

According to information gathered by Fáilte Ireland, Irish holidaymakers are looking for places off the beaten track, have lots of outdoor space, and offer activities and attractions. They are also looking for areas that can be enjoyed safely with family and friends. Fortunately, East Clare fits these criteria perfectly.

29% of Irish people took a holiday in Ireland in 2020, and this figure is set to rise in 2021. As household savings are at an all-time high, we can be optimistic that people will be willing to spend this tourism season. With more people discovering the beauty that Ireland offers, we are confident that the East Clare region will benefit from this greatly.

Fáilte Ireland secured €55m from the government to support fixed costs for specific strategic tourism businesses that were excluded from other supports. We encourage all businesses to check their eligibility for this support HERE.

A range of promotional material has been created by Fáilte Ireland under the new hashtag #KeepDiscovering. County Clare is one of the first ten counties to have a promotional video which will be released in the lead up to the reopening of tourism. Similarly, a video campaign for Ireland's Hidden Heartlands, for which East Clare is a part, has also been created — and looks fantastic!

Yesterday, the Shannon Tourism Masterplan was launched, which saw the unveiling of a ten-year strategy that would boost tourism in the Shannon region. The investment of €70m into Ireland's Hidden Heartlands aims to attract an additional 500,000 people to the region.

Holy Island, otherwise known as Inis Cealtra on a bright and sunny day. This photo captures the reflections of the sky and minimal clouds in the blue waters of Lough Derg.
Inis Cealtra. Photo by Claus-Eckhard Kraemer

The development of the Inis Cealtra Visitor Centre has been included under this masterplan which seeks to introduce visitors to the historic Holy Island. Two Mile Gate will see the development of shared facilities for water sports activities.

On Wednesday the 24th of February, we held our AGM, which was attended by many with interest in tourism in the East Clare region. We were greatly heartened by the levels of enthusiasm and commitment displayed on the night, and we are hopeful that this will continue.

Tourism East Clare has also benefited from funding from the LEADER Project, under the "Development and Implementation of an Action Plan for Network Expansion of Tourism East Clare". This funding will be used to grow our network of members which will, in turn, provide the East Clare region with greater potential for tourism growth.

Under this initiative, we will be offering a series of benefits to our members, including increased access to social media supports, a number of marketing campaigns and e-brochures.

We will also be encouraging members to collaborate with one another to increase their own offering. The more people are willing to give this tourism season, the more you will get back!

Membership is just €50 for the year and includes access to the above-mentioned benefits and so much more.

We want East Clare to thrive this tourism season and beyond, and the more people who are working collaboratively to achieve this goal, the greater the benefits will be.

Membership is open to all businesses, community groups, festivals and events. To sign up, click HERE.

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