Ennis December 13th

Carey expresses fears for Kilkee Tourist Office

Fine Gael TD Joe Carey has today said that concerns now exist for the future of Kilkee Tourist Office. The office, which opens during the Summer months, is a valuable resource for the seaside resort and the surrounding region. Due to funding restraints, Deputy Carey understands that the idea of closing the office permanently is under consideration. Deputy Carey has written 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. Deputy Carey said: “Kilkee Tourist Office is a valuable resource in a hugely popular area of the county. I do not believe that now is the time for us to be removing or scaling back on our tourist product. Of course, huge pressures exist within the tourist sector, but there is some hope that the decline in international visitors will be stemmed from next year onwards as the global recession eases. Therefore, I believe that tourist agencies working in the Mid-West must do everything they can to ensure our current level of services on offer to tourists remains. The Tourist Office in Kilkee is a vital source of information on what to do and see in the area as well as a way for local business, such as hotels, guesthouses and restaurants, to promote their products and connect directly with visitors. It’s removal and closure would undoubtedly have an adverse financial effect on the local region.” He added: “The wider picture here is one of government’s inability to properly fund and develop Ireland’s tourist product. A 12% drop in tourist visitors to Ireland last year is very worrying. This coupled with the ongoing uncertainty over both Ryanair and Aer Lingus and their business through Shannon Airport are placing huge pressure on the tourist industry in County Clare. This region was promised a marketing fund post open skies to help sustain and develop our tourist sector. Yet that fund has never materialised. Instead we have the burden of unnecessary travel taxes making life very difficult for the Mid-West tourist sector. When tourist offices are under threat of closure, it gives some indication of the pressures the Mid-West region is facing.” He said: not twithstanding the difficulties the sector faces, I do not believe that closing Kilkee Tourist Office would have a net gain for the taxpayer in the long run. Perhaps there is scope for further consultation with the local business community, and to look at revenue generating ways that might compliment the office’s current revenue streams. Symbolically, the closure of this office would undo much good work that has been done inpromoting Kilkee in recent years. I am calling for careful consideration of any planned closure.”