I welcome the news that Kilkee Tourist office is to remain open.

In the past months I’ve led calls to maintain the service at the tourist office, writing to those responsible in regional tourism to try prevent that event happening and seek assurances that visitors to the region will continue to be serviced by an efficient tourist information service.

The news that the office will remain open for the coming year has been broadly welcomed by both business interests and the general public.

Kilkee is a premier tourist destination in the Mid-West and it is vital we hold onto basic services such as a tourist office. This is welcome news for business in Kilkee and for the general public. I was happy to play my part over the past few months in making the case for Kilkee tourist Office. I never agreed with the decision to close the service – this is a time for building on our tourist services not withdrawing them.

I would hope now that the long-term future of this office would also be secured and I will be again writing to those involved in the service to express this hope and offer any help my office can give.

Closing regional tourist offices sends out all the wrong messages to both tourist and locals alike. These are vital point of contact and information for visitors to the region. For generations we have prided ourselves in this area on a personal hands-on tourist service. We must not allow short-term financial thinking to impact on that.

County Clare remains a strong and sought after tourist destination. But it is a very competitive environment at present and every effort must be made to both attract and assist tourist when they visit this region.

The maintaining of the tourist office in Kilkee is the right decision for west Clare and its visitors and I welcome it.