Earlier today saw the launch of the Lough Derg Visitor Experience Development Plan. This exciting plan sets out the overall approach to destination planning in the Lough Derg region for the next five years.

    This plan illustrates the many unique attractions in the Lough Derg region and how best to develop the visitor experience in the area. The plan is to be aligned with the Tourism Masterplan for the Shannon and Ireland's Hidden Heartlands.

    The Lough Derg Marketing Group developed the plan in collaboration with local stakeholders. With information and data gathered from members of the community and local businesses, the Lough Derg Visitor Experience Development Plan will act as a beacon for visitors to the region.

    The plan sets out four distinct hubs around Lough Derg, which will combine tourism opportunities in each region. These regions include Killaloe/Ballina, Holy Island, Portumna and Nenagh.

      Map outlining the location of the four distinct hubs around Lough Derg.

      The Killaloe/Ballina Destination Hub will highlight the range of outdoor activities and historical points of interest within the area. The 2024 Vision looks at allowing for the seamless planning and booking of experiences online. They hope to add to the existing walking trails, link walking and canoe trails, consider additional accommodation and much more.

      The 2024 Vision of the Holy Island Destination Hub allows for a more strategic link-up of experiences, which will enable visitors to the area to have connected and multi-day trips. This aspect highlights the plan's objective of allowing slow travel.

      Facilitating slow travel is a significant objective as part of the plan. Slow travel allows visitors to explore the region sustainably by developing services along the slow travel network.

      Similarly, the plan hopes to coordinate lake-wide initiatives that will enhance the region's visitor experience. The impacts of this plan will be continuously measured, using visitor feedback and industry figures for guidance.

      The commercial targets of the plan are to see an increase of 3% year on year of revenue from overseas visitors, domestic bed nights, occupancy levels and visitor numbers to the main attractions and activity providers.

      "I think Lough Derg has huge post-pandemic potential for both domestic and overseas tourism," said Pól Ó Conghaile, travel editor at the Irish Independent.

      Paddy Mathews, Head of Ireland's Hidden Heartlands, was among those to talk in the video launch.

      "It will bring tourism businesses and stakeholders together over the next five years to create new and improved visitor experiences which will make it easier for visitors to explore the area's historic towns, villages, waterways and inland trails," said Paddy.

      The five-year plans outlined under the Lough Derg Visitor Experience Development Plan will only enhance the region, including East Clare. We look forward to seeing the broader and long term impacts that this plan has on the community.

      Be sure to check out the County Clare Tourism Strategy 2030 that will go live on Thursday over on Clare County Council's Facebook page. Here's a teaser for what is to come!

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