• Funding Scheme for regenerative tourism projects launched by Fáilte Ireland as part of EU Just Transition Fund Regenerative Tourism & Placemaking Scheme
• Up to €17 million in grant-aid for private and community-based micro enterprises and SMEs in the wider Midlands area.
• Fáilte Ireland is administering up to €68 million of the support from the EU Just Transition Fund programme.
• Counties Laois, Westmeath, Offaly, Longford, Roscommon and parts of Galway, Tipperary and Kildare to benefit.
Fáilte Ireland has launched an open call for Expressions of Interest for its Investment Grant-Aid Scheme for Private & Community SMEs as part of the EU Just Transition Fund Regenerative Tourism & Placemaking Scheme for Ireland’s Midlands 2023-2026.
The scheme aims to transform tourism across 8 counties in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands and Ireland’s Ancient East by diversifying the local economy and providing new employment opportunities for workers and communities that were heavily dependent on peat.
The Investment Grant-Aid Scheme for Private & Community SMEs is the first part of the up to €68 million Regenerative Tourism & Placemaking scheme to be delivered by Fáilte Ireland, as part of the EU Just Transition Fund (EU JTF).
Co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Union, the EU JTF Programme supports regions that are experiencing the negative impacts from the transition away from fossil fuel-intensive or greenhouse-gas-intensive industries, such as the use of peat for energy generation.
Under the Investment Grant-Aid Scheme for Private & Community SMEs there are five project categories that will be considered for funding:
▪ Category 1: Development or Enhancement of Sustainable Visitor Experiences
▪ Category 2: Development of Sustainable/Low Carbon Tourist Accommodation
▪ Category 3: Capital Project Planning & Design
▪ Category 4: Digital Transformation
▪ Category 5: Accessibility enhancements to provide a more inclusive visitor experience.
Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin TD:
The opening of the EU Just Transition Regenerative Tourism & Placemaking Scheme by Fáilte Ireland marks the beginning of the regenerative tourism development journey in
Ireland, as we work towards a low carbon economy. This scheme is in line with the Programme for Government commitment for the development of a Sustainable Tourism
Policy which will support sustainable economic development and job creation.
Working with all partners and communities on the ground I am confident that this scheme will help to transform tourism in the Midlands and enable the regional economies to thrive.
Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan TD:
The EU Just Transition Fund Regenerative Tourism & Placemaking Scheme is an example of how the Government and the European Union are working together to provide new employment and economic opportunities in the Midlands that will help local communities benefit directly from the green transition. This is one of many initiatives under the EU Just Transition Fund that will accelerate the transition towards a greener, more sustainable, low-carbon economy in the Midlands.
CEO of Fáilte Ireland Paul Kelly:
This is a significant funding scheme for tourism in the Midlands that will leave a lasting legacy of transformative change. We encourage private and community-based micro enterprises and SMEs to recognise the enormous potential of this scheme.
We are now inviting them to express their interest in developing a tourism project that will help create more reasons for domestic and international tourists to visit the Midlands while also sustaining jobs, businesses and local communities.
It is an unprecedented investment in tourism, and one that is going to have a tangible economic impact in the designated territories of Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands and Ireland’s Ancient East.
Fáilte Ireland looks forward to working collaboratively with local tourism businesses and communities, the East and Midland Regional Authority (EMRA), Bord na Móna, Local Authorities, and our strategic partners including Waterways Ireland, National Parks and
Wildlife Service and Coillte to implement the Regenerative Tourism & Placemaking Scheme.
Assistant Director of the Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly (EMRA) Bernie Roe:
As the Managing Authority of the EU Just Transition Fund in Ireland, the launching of the Investment Grant-Aid Scheme for Private & Community SMEs is an exciting moment for the EU JTF Programme.
This new investment scheme for SMEs will support local jobs and communities for a vibrant tourism industry in the wider Midlands in a way that celebrates the area’s potential and rich experience. This scheme is a key piece of a broader group of actions under the EU JTF programme that will help to increase the attractiveness of the wider Midlands regions as a place to live, work and visit as it moves away from carbon-intensive activities.
Fáilte Ireland recognised the potential of tourism to generate employment for former peat harvesting based communities and developed a set of actions to be incorporated within the EU Just Transition Fund programme to create new enterprises and jobs by establishing the Midlands as an authentic regenerative tourism destination, based on the sustainable use of the peatlands and wetlands.
The Regenerative Tourism & Placemaking Scheme was developed to enhance the potential of the region as a place to live and work, regenerate regional towns and villages with world-class tourism and recreation infrastructure that can transform the economies of communities in these regional areas.
Welcoming the announcement, Minister Rabbitte said:
Never has there been an opportunity for self starters, private and community enterprises and sme’s to recognise this unprecedented investment in tourism with the opportunity to enhance the potential of the midlands as a place to live and work, and regenerate our rural towns and villages.