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New tourism plan “presents a new vision for Killarney tourism” – Chamber

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The future of Killarney’s tourism industry is being safeguarded and the town’s reputation as the country’s premier tourist destination is being copper-fastened by the development of a Killarney specific Fáilte Ireland Destination Experience Development Plan (DEDP).

That’s the view of Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce President, Niall Kelleher, who was speaking following the formal launch of the project at a reception in Killarney House and Gardens this Tuesday.

The destination development plan is designed to build a new and collective vision for tourism in Killarney and to enhance the way in which visitors experience the town while maximising its role as the principal exploration base for the wider Kerry tourism economy.

The Chamber President said the five-year plan will provide a clear development focus and it will harness existing strategic plans as well as examining new projects to enhance Killarney’s long-held reputation as a world class holiday destination.

Mr Kelleher said it is hugely positive to note that central to the development theme will be the adoption of a very responsible and carefully choreographed approach to maximise potential of Killarney’s natural assets, primarily Killarney National Park.

“The plan will build on and extend the existing culture and heritage of Killarney through the creation of cultural quarters, creating strong new links between areas of historic and cultural significance and the core town experience,” he said.

UNIVERSAL ACCESS

The Chamber President said it was very much in line with current Kerry County Council policy that the Fáilte Ireland vision for Killarney supports universal access and the transition from an over-reliance on vehicular traffic to pedestrian priority and new cycle paths.

“The plan is all about sustainability and ensuring we prepare properly for the future. It is designed to encourage visitors to stay longer in Killarney and to consider it as a base to explore other parts of the county and the Wild Atlantic Way,” Mr Kelleher said.

He believes Killarney needs to remain competitive to extend the tourist season and the plan will help to address the festering problem of low occupancy in the shoulder months.

Mr Kelleher noted that the Fáilte Ireland led plan, which will pull together the experiences of Killarney’s business community, Chamber members, the statutory bodies and the National Parks and Wildlife Service, is designed to address the new challenges around re-establishing visitor numbers post pandemic, rebuilding domestic and overseas visitor revenue and securing local employment with a longer-term focus on developing destination resilience.

“Killarney’s world class destination status requires a new development focus to ensure the town experience matches the quality of its stunning natural environment. This plan will develop a coherent Killarney brand and deliver a series of projects that will collectively become transformational in the performance of Killarney.

“At the same time, it will address the challenges identified during the consultation process,” Mr Kelleher said.

The Chamber President said the priorities for Killarney under the Destination Experience Development Plan are to grow year-round business via an extended season, refresh the Killarney brand with the inclusion of all stakeholders and to develop the urban realm to introduce visitors to the full range of Killarney experiences by sharing with them the complete Killarney story.

Mr Kelleher thanked Fáilte Ireland, its chief executive Paul Kelly and its board of directors, for their foresight, their professionalism and their support of Killarney and for the great skill and determination they have demonstrated in steering DEDP through the various stages.

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Killarney hotels are still open for business

By Sean Moriarty Only a few of the town’s 37 hotels are homing displaced people – according to Bernadette Randles, chair of the Kerry branch of the Irish Hotel Federation. […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Only a few of the town’s 37 hotels are homing displaced people – according to Bernadette Randles, chair of the Kerry branch of the Irish Hotel Federation.

This week she said that there’s still accommodation to be found in Killarney for visitors.

She was speaking in relation to the current accommodation situation facing International Protection Applicants and Ukrainian war refugees.

She explained that there is a perception that Killarney has taken in too many refugees and that it is putting the tourism industry at risk as people are starting to think that the town is at full capacity.

“If you can’t get a room in Killarney there is something wrong,” she said. “Maybe with the exception of New Year’s Eve.”

She added that hotels that are providing emergency accommodation are helping off-season unemployment.

Many hotels remain in survival mode after two years of pandemic turmoil and the additional off season business is important, she explained.

“Many could be closed at this time of the year, others would not be operating at full capacity,” she added.

However, she warned the Government needs to put a plan in place before the tourism season starts next year. Some hotels offering emergency accommodation either have a three or six month contract.

“I can see there will be tears next April – the Government must have a long-term plan,” she said.

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Homing refugees worth almost €14m

By Sean Moriarty Hotels, B&Bs and other accommodation suppliers in the Killarney area have secured contracts in excess of €13 million to accommodate Ukraine war refugees. The Department of Children, […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Hotels, B&Bs and other accommodation suppliers in the Killarney area have secured contracts in excess of €13 million to accommodate Ukraine war refugees.

The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth released figures to the Killarney Advertiser.

Documents show that contracts totalling €13,852,255.00 are being shared between 13 premises in the Killarney urban area.

However, the department warned these figures are “indicative” only and the full value of the contracts depends on “occupancy and actual usage”.

The Eviston Hotel has secured a contract worth €5,727,590.00, the Innisfallen Hotel in Fossa for €2,404,620.00 and The Hotel Killarney signed a deal worth €1,701,000.00. These are the three biggest contracts published in the documentation.

This is only the tip of the iceberg, and Department officials say more contracts could come on stream. Figures seen by the Killarney Advertiser only cover contracted premises up to the end of September this year and updated figures are only released every three months.

“We are in contract with far more, but the formal exchange of contracts can take place sometime after the service commences,” a department spokesperson told the Killarney Advertiser.

“The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth is obliged to publish a list of contracts formally signed off each quarter that have been awarded under a special EU Derogation that permits the Department to enter into contracts in the context of the Ukraine accommodation crisis without going to formal tender.

“The values of the contracts shown are estimates; the actual value materialises upon occupancy and actual usage. Standard contracts have no-fault break clauses available to both parties so again, the figures are indicative rather than actual.”

These figures only cover Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war and do not include International Protection Applicants.

The Department refused to release International Protection Applicant figures to the Killarney Advertiser.

“The International Protection Applicant accommodation contract information is commercially sensitive information and is not available,” added the Department spokesperson.

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