Fianna Fáil Senator Erin McGreehan says the Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin TD should work in tandem with her counterpart in the North to promote destinations on both sides of the border region to encourage tourism.
Speaking in the Seanad on Tuesday, the Senator from north Louth stated she believed there are untapped aspects of tourism along the border region that is there to attract visitors to the region.
She wants the Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin to work with her counterpart north of the border to work together in bringing an increased focus on promoting the region as a whole, with local history and biodiversity forming a major part of the plan.
“The global pandemic almost overnight closed the tourism and hospitality sector in Ireland. Rightly, people have been holidaying at home this year and I believe more promotion of the border region is required. Tourism Ireland do tremendous work to market Ireland on an all island basis, but I would urge the new Minister for Tourism to work with her counterpart in Northern Ireland in this regard.”
The new Senator also says that more should be done to encourage local people to make the most of what attractions they have close to them.
“I believe her Department should consider a ‘getting to know your own history’ – a nationwide project to encourage us all to embrace what our localities have, a history that is untapped and unappreciated in many instances.
“That can be developed and mapped where we can have a database, a proper roadmap of our history and culture which is accessible for those holidaying in Ireland.”
Senatoe McGreehan said that Templeton was named after the Knights of Templar after they provided safe passage for pilgrims coming from Ulster and leaving Killwirra in Templetown to complete the Camino to Spain She said visitors can get their Camino passport stamped in one of the oldest churches in the Archdiocese of Armagh, St James in Grange, Co. Louth.
“This is only one small example of the thousands of local historical facts our towns and villages hold,” she added. “As the pandemic changes our tourism industry it is time to consider wider changes and provide new options for tourists.
“We have the most beautiful biodiversity in this country, we should be examining the possibility of biodiversity tourism. I think of the humble and magical hawthorn tree which supports about 200 different insect species or the unique heathers we have on the Cooley Mountains. This is all untapped opportunities for healthy positive sustainable tourism.”