Inishowen’s public representatives have slammed Donegal Tourism for not promoting Inishowen to the same degree as other regions of the county.
Donegal Tourism is the unit within Donegal County Council responsible for marketing Donegal, domestically and internationally, as a tourism destination.
However, Inishowen councillors have long since suspected that the peninsula doesn’t get a fair shake under the entity, particularly when compared to the south of the county.
Cllr Martin McDermott raised the issue again at last week’s meeting of the Inishowen Municipal District.
He said it’s disgraceful that ‘Explore Inishowen’ has to constantly look for “peanuts of money” when Donegal Tourism is funded to the hilt.
“We had Explore Inishowen meeting us, looking for financial help to promote the peninsula and to do brochures.”
“They should be funded directly through Donegal County Council and our Tourism Unit.”
“There’s a gap there, between how Inishowen is sold and how the rest of the county is sold.”
Cllr Johnny McGuinness also highlighted a perceived “divide between Donegal Tourism and Inishowen”, citing a lack of funding locally.
“We need to promote the peninsula on a par with the rest of the county.”
“Local tourism operators up here are starved of the financial clout necessary to promote the peninsula on its best footing. This has been going on year after year and it’s got to stop.”
“Donegal Tourism should be all-encompassing and we shouldn’t have to fight just to be brought up to par.”
“We even had some examples of one-day concerts [funded by DCC] taking place last year in other parts of the county, costing upwards of €40,000 to €50,000. Yet we had tourism operators here on our own doorstep coming in looking for support to print a magazine or to hold a weekend festival – and we didn’t have the financial wherewithal to do that,” Cllr McGuinness said.
Similarly, Cllr Nicholas Crossan said it’s imperative that Inishowen is “seen to be getting value for money” in regards to marketing – and he said it’s “very wrong” that local Councillors are being “set to the one side” when it comes to deciding how the tourism budget is spent.
“We must look for better value for money for Inishowen,” he stressed.
Mary McBride, from the Council’s Economic Development team, said she had listened to “some very strong comments”, which she would bring back to the Donegal Tourism section.
She added: “It’s important that there is an equal balance among all of the electoral areas.”