The Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring TD, has officially launched a new Community Tourism Initiative for the Irish diaspora which seeks to build on the legacy of The Gathering 2013.
The initiative, a joint partnership between Fáilte Ireland, IPB Insurance and the 34 local authorities, will provide an annual fund of €1m over the next three years to support up to 700 local community-based events and festivals each year.
Launching the fund, Minister Ring said: “People often ask me what the legacy of The Gathering should be. I believe The Gathering has brought communities together, near and far. Today’s initiative means we can support that legacy and build on the new relationships, and the many new projects that came out of 2013.”
The Community Tourism Diaspora Initiative is a direct response to one of the clear successes of last year’s The Gathering where 5,000 communities mobilised to harness their diaspora links for the benefit of local and community tourism.
The objectives of the initiative are:
- To provide support in the form of small-scale funding incentives to community-based tourism events that have the capacity to carry through on the legacy of The Gathering in 2014 and beyond
- To create a national network of local events with the capacity to deepen diaspora links and networks that have been developed or re-activated during The Gathering year
- To foster the growth of strong county diaspora networks on the basis that diaspora relationships are rooted in ‘people and place’
With an estimate of up to 700 local events capable of being supported and with each of these reckoned to have the capacity of attracting up to 50 visitors, the potential maximum impact of the fund could be an additional 35,000 visitors to Ireland each year over the next three years.