During 2019, when we set about the work of shaping a ten-year strategy to chart the future of tourism in County Clare, our objectives were clear. In partnership with Shannon Heritage, Shannon Group and Fáilte Ireland, we wished to ensure the continued growth of tourism in the County by adding to its appeal to both overseas and domestic visitors, and to do so in a sustainable way – managing and dispersing growth so that communities in all parts of Clare benefitted.
As we prepared to sign-off on the strategy, the COVID-19 pandemic unleashed a massive economic shock on the world. It brought a sudden stop to international travel and tourism and it also deeply impacted domestic tourism within Ireland. The effect on businesses in Clare, and particularly tourism-connected businesses, has been devastating.
Given the unprecedented scale of the crisis in our tourism economy, an immediate priority was, and continues to be, to help minimise the impact of the downturn on businesses and to work toward full recovery. This essential work will be a focus of Clare County Council and the Clare Tourism Strategy Implementation Structure.
While there continues to be some business uncertainty, what is certain is that there is an unquenchable desire among people throughout the world to travel and to explore. Travel will resume when people feel it is safe to do so, and tourism will continue to be a key driver of our economic growth. Having a long-term strategy is now more important than ever.
This County Clare Tourism Strategy 2030 is intended to guide our journey to a vibrant new future in tourism. Our 2030 vision is for Clare to be a globally-renowned sustainable and vibrant destination, easily reached and traversed, and recognised for its rich cultural assets, its stunning and open-space landscapes, its compelling array of remarkable experiences, and for its welcome and exceptional hospitality.
Achieving this vision will require all tourism interests in Clare, supported by government and national agencies, to work collaboratively to deliver an outcome that enriches all communities across our County. Clare County Council is committed to driving this Strategy in partnership with the Tourism Industry and to the implementation of many of the actions set out within it.