• Cyril McAree

Fáilte Ireland Announces Funding Of €3 Million For Major Festivals And Events

The Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin TD, has announced a significant provision of €2,964,500 in Fáilte Ireland funding to enhance and promote 40 festivals nationwide and develop new festivals and events across the country.

Festivals and events are critical for tourism growth as they specifically attract more than 200,000 overseas visitors to Ireland and contribute €108million to the economy every year.The allocation of funding will be used to enhance existing festivals, develop new festival ideas and support St. Patrick’s Day celebrations across the country.

Fáilte Ireland, as the National Tourism Development Authority, identified festivals as a key component for tourism growth, particularly during off-season times in its plans for 2019. Recognising the role festivals play in growing international visitor numbers, Fáilte Ireland has ensured every county in Ireland can benefit from today’s announcement outside of the festivals identified for funding. The overall funding includes €570,000 provided to Local Authorities under its ‘Regional Festivals and Participative Events Programme’ which will be used to support more than 250 festivals across the country.

Applications for the Regional Festivals and Participative Events Programme are ongoing through the Local Authorities.

Making the announcement, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin TD said:

“With many challenges on the horizon for tourism, today’s announcement is a welcome start to 2019. Not only do festivals and events play an important role in delivering brilliant visitor experiences, they often encourage people to visit areas outside of traditional tourism hotspots and outside of peak times, helping to spread the benefits of tourism to communities throughout Ireland. I’m delighted to see Fáilte Ireland focusing on St Patrick’s Day across the country - there is massive opportunity there to attract overseas visitors to locations outside Dublin.”

Fáilte Ireland CEO Paul Kelly added: “Fáilte Ireland is very much committed to a greater spread of regional activity as well as supporting a longer tourism year. Festivals – which can take place anywhere and at any time of the year - are very much a part of this focus on greater regionality and seasonality. The festivals funded today will anchor tourism activity in their localities which is hugely important for local revenue and local jobs.”

Fáilte Ireland’s Head of Festivals Ciara Sugrue explains the long-term goal: “We are aiming to grow overseas visitors coming to Ireland to attend a festival to 300,000 by 2022 and have lots of exciting initiatives planned to help us do this. Today, we announced the funding allocated for our 2019 National, Multi-Annual and Interim Festival Programmes. We also have significant additional investment this year for new festival ideas under the Festivals Innovation Programme. A large focus for 2019 will be around development and ensuring festival organisers are equipped with the tools they need to build high impact festivals of scale with a new Business Supports Programme.”

Part of today’s announcement are plans to develop celebrations for ‘St Patrick’s Week in Ireland’ in a number of locations across the country including Sligo, Waterford, Killarney, Skerries, Swords, Cork and Limerick.

“We want to position Ireland as the place to celebrate St Patrick’s Day. A huge number of visitors come to Dublin every year for the St Patrick’s Festival, and building on this success, as part of our strategy to spread the benefits of tourism, we will be highlighting locations across the country to celebrate our National Holiday. We have identified a number of St Patrick’s Day events for development throughout 2019 in order to attract more overseas visitors, both participants and spectators. We will be working with festival organisers to ramp up activity for 2020.” concluded Ciara Sugrue.

For details on the Festivals Innovation Programme click HERE.

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