A Donegal TD has called for urgent funding for what he describes as a “vitally important tourism information centre for Killybegs’ businesses and local community”.
Dail deputy Thomas Pringle said: “The Killybegs Tourism Information Centre is run by truly incredible people who work hard for the benefit of businesses and the local community.
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“As a non-for-profit organisation, staff sourced from Tús, Community Employment and volunteers actively board cruise ships, discuss possible itineraries with the tourists encouraging them to actively explore Killybegs and its surrounds.
“Housed in a porta cabin the Tourism Information Centre has not received any official funding since 2015 and currently works off donations and even personal finances to keep it running.
“From the Saga Ruby Cruise Ship with 655 passengers in 2008, the Centre has now attracted the attention of two other major cruise lines, the P&O and Cunard in 2018, a truly heroic feat considering the staff does this on their own initiative. Imagine what they could do with more funding and resources made available to them.
“Without the staff’s hard work and real commitment to this great initiative we would not see the continued growth in tourism footfall today.
“Not only do the staff in the Tourism Information Centre actively board cruise ships, they also provide a shuttle bus service from port to town supplying tourists with maps and information on taxi services, shopping, banking, crafts and a myriad of other stops and services to encourage local spend.
“I believe that after so much hard work carried out by the Centre, official long-term funding needs to be established from Government sources.
“In the meantime we hope that as many councillors as possible will come together to allocate some funding from their Members’ Development Fund.
“I’ve been actively campaigning alongside those running the Centre with Anne Dorrian, Peter Ward, Margo Richmond, Geraldine Hegarty, Arlene Cook and Moya McHugh.
“I have also met with Donegal County Council regarding the same.
“If the value of the Tourism Information Centre is not officially recognised, it would be a missed opportunity for the continued growth of Killybegs Harbour into the future.
“The potential for greater footfall is increasing with projects such as Phase 1 of the new Marina and Boat Park complete and once up and running will see 63 small craft serviced in the area.
“The Killybegs Tourism Information Centre is already seeing the potential of these projects.
“In essence, the office is encouraging local spend so the Government must recognise and facilitate the potential for communities to readily adapt to challenges and opportunities.
“The Killybegs Tourism Information Centre is a shining example of how communities can do just that and more with the right supports in place.”
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