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Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s min- ister for transport, tourism and sport, has outlined a new Action Plan for how the department will continue to promote job creation over the coming year. Under the proposals, tour-

ism agency Fáilte Ireland will allocate capital funding for schemes to create new and improve existing tourism attractions from a EUR21m (£17.8m) fund. Fáilte Ireland has oper-

ated its Tourism Capital Investment Programme for a number of years and has contributed to proj- ects such as the Tralee Eco Park, County Kerry, and Westport Greenway, County Mayo. A spokesperson for the tourism agency said

it will continue to work with projects as they near completion, while seeking out new proj- ects to partner with over the coming year.

Westport Greenway was one initiative to receive Fáilte Ireland funding Meanwhile, Varadkar has published a prog-

ress report covering the last 12 months, with a cut in VAT for tourism firms among actions taken. Te last year has also seen Fáilte Ireland investing in attractions such as Malahide Castle and the Book of Kells. Read more:

UK businesses target Indian visitor potential

VisitBritain has revealed that a “record num- ber” of UK businesses have joined the tourism agency in India as part of a bid to capitalise on one of the world’s fastest growing markets. India Mission 2012 is to feature representa- tives from the tourism, sport and retail sectors,

with 250 key Indian buyers to meet with the group at a number of briefing sessions. In 2010, the UK accounted for just 3 per cent

of outbound trips by Indian residents, which was worth £363m to the economy. Details:

Scottish growth targets ‘raise concerns’

A new Scottish parliamentary committee report has raised “concerns” about the coun- try’s ability to achieve 50 per cent growth in tourism set by the Scottish Government. Te report from the Scottish

Parliament’s Economy, Energy and Tourism committee has looked at the issues currently affecting the tourism sector. Among those to give evi-

dence to the committee as part of the report process was the national tourism agency, VisitScotland, which said the target set in 2006 was unreal- istic in the current climate. Te agency has now been asked by the com-

mittee to produce annual statements outlining the progress made towards the target, as well as its plans to address any shortfall.

Read Leisure Opportunities online:

Scotland’s bid to increase tourism by 50 per cent is no longer “realistic” Committee convener Murdo Fraser said:

“We are concerned about the apparent lack of clarity around the ability to meet this target.” Details:

Twitter: @leisureopps © CYBERTREK 2012

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