An examination of the marine tourism business sector in the West of Ireland: capabilities, performance and contribution to the regional economy
This is a business research study with the primary aim being the examination of the marine tourism business sector in the West of Ireland and assessment of its contribution to the regional economy. According to the Irish Regions Office (Irish Regions, 2008), the West of Region of Ireland comprises the countries of Galway, Mayo and Roscommon. This thesis explores three main themes including the product, the person and related policy. The product theme includes the marine tourism product capabilities, business performance and challenges. The person theme includes the marine tourism product capabilities, business customers, tourist motivations, characteristics, participation levels and a visitor profile. The policy theme includes marine tourism development agents, strategic plan assessments and funding of the marine tourism business sector. This thesis concludes with a number of recommendations to develop and grow the marine tourism business sector in Ireland including the appointment of a lead government agency to take control and management of the sector at all levels; the development of marine tourism business sector internet hub; the investment in marine educational programmes at primary and secondary level to tackle participation levels; the investment and development in a network of marinas in the West of Ireland through public private partnerships, to build on the Volvo Ocean Race 2009 infrastructure investment in Galway; a re-design of Failte Ireland Exit Survey to capture marine tourism data more effectively; modernisation of Foreshore Act to encourage economic development; and investment in beach resort tourism programmes to support the businesses in the region.
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