Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs and Sport Jack Chambers and Senator Lisa Chambers were guest speakers at the Westport Tourist Organization’s first Annual General Meeting since 2019.
In his Chairman’s address at the Westport Woods Hotel, Donal O’Shea mentioned the map of the city that they have had for many years and lately they have introduced a walking map which is in every B&B and hotel in town and on it’s now a QR code that people can scan on their phone to see it.
He reminded people of the brochure which offers activities for tourists whether it is leisure, adventure or history.
The President added that every four years a survey is conducted by Fr Micheál MacGréil who asks hoteliers, bed and breakfasts, shops and tourists themselves what tourism in Westport needs.
A copy of the survey was presented to Minister Jack Chambers.
One of the things the tourism committee found a few years ago in their research was that Westport lacked a marina.
Last year they had a meeting with Minister of Agriculture, Food and the Navy Charlie McConalogue which gave a lot of hope.
The Chairman then thanked the Marine Sub-Committee for their assistance and they hope to make a presentation in the near future.
Mr O’Shea then expressed his disappointment at Fáilte Ireland’s attitude that there is no year-round tourist office in Westport.
Fáilte Ireland said there was not enough footfall in the office, but the chairman added that the whole idea of tourism should be all year round and hoped to ensure that was the case at the future of a year-round office.
Senator Lisa Chambers knows how hard the WTO has worked and has recognized Westport advisers Peter Flynn, Christy Hyland and Brendan Mulroy for their efforts.
Senator Chambers said it was great to have Minister McConalogue visit and see what they thought was achievable with a marina. This would not only create additional tourism in Westport, but a ripple effect in places like Achill, Louisburgh and Castlebar.
“I will work with you as best I can for this dream,” the senator said.
Minister Jack Chambers was then introduced and he spoke about his family history in Mayo, with his father from Newport and his mother from Hollymount.
The Minister had fond memories of the growth of Westport and he said Mayo had a huge offer for tourism in Ireland and overseas, citing its rich cultural heritage.
The minister added that the shared collaboration of public officials with shops, pubs, hotels and bed and breakfasts is integral to the success of Westport and that over the past two years Mayo has responded well with tourism despite the challenges of Covid.
The meeting was open to the public and among the topics raised were the Clew Bay loop, new signage on the green for cyclists, capital investment for Westport and the accommodation required for Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war in Europe.