A key to successful tourism development for local authorities in Ireland

Stephen Boyd, James Hanrahan

Research output: Other contributionpeer-review


AbstractPredominantly across Ireland the responsibility for County Development Plan generation rests with the Local Authorities (DOE, 2000). While other sectors such as the Heritage Council, have developed guidelines such as the ‘Heritage Appraisal of Development Plans – A Methodology for Planning Authorities, (2000).’ The tourism sector has been slow to respond to the needs of Local Authority Planners. This is surprising considering the approach to planning and mechanisms used to manage tourism resources has the potential to enhance the associated tourism products and thus enrich responsible tourism development in Ireland. This paper draws on doctoral research Hanrahan (2008) and briefly summaries a critically assessment of tourism plans within all the Local Authority County Development Plans. This allows the researcher to draw an overall picture of the current state of tourism planning at Local Authority level. Which highlights no regional or spatial relationship, between tourist’s arrivals and detail or depth of these plans. Furthermore there appears to be a relatively low absorption rate of E.U. and Government tourism development policies and strategies into the county development plans. This may affect the ability of these plans to mitigate and manage the social, economic and environmental impacts of tourism. The relatively low planning provision for resort planning guidelines, and tourism zoning, specific tourism infrastructure and basic signage, is criticized and discussed in context of international best practice. The limited support mechanisms and guidelines for tourism planning offered to Local Authorities from relevant tourism bodies (McTiernan, Flanagan, 2005) are then discussed in context of the research findings. The key to successful planning for tourism development may lie in Fáilte Irelands changing role and how this may impact on tourism planning at Local Authority level. Finally the paper suggests a specific tourism planning toolkit for Local Authorities which could be implemented, which may ensure a more sustainable and responsible approach to tourism planning. The tourism planning toolkit components are discussed in relation to practical application by L.A. planners in terms of support, finance and addressing the current tourism planning issues discussed.
Original languageEnglish
TypePaper presented at the 4th annual THRIC conference
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 15 Jun 2008


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