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 Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly (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.”
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. It will support the transition of the Midlands to a carbon neutral destination through funding of sustainable tourism projects that are designed to have significant regenerative impacts on local communities and peatlands.
The purpose of the Investment Grant-Aid Scheme is to deliver grant-aid to private and community-based micro enterprises and SMEs to help them improve the quality of the visitor experience within the EU Just Transition Territory. The ambition is to attract more visitors, increase dwell time, and secure overnight stays. This will create new jobs in the sector and help grow the visitor economy.
Applications for the Investment Grant-Aid Scheme for Private & Community SMEs will be assessed by Fáilte Ireland, who will provide guidance on the scheme and offer direct support to applicants. Private and community-based micro enterprises and SMEs can find scheme guidelines, useful toolkits and how to register their interest in the scheme at www.failteireland.ie.
Fáilte Ireland’s Regenerative Tourism & Placemaking Scheme for Ireland’s Midlands 2023-2026 under the EU Just Transition Fund will be delivered through a series of Open and Closed Call Grant-Aid Schemes, comprising seven distinct funding schemes which will be announced over the coming months.
Source: Fáilte Ireland