Labour Councillor, Noel Tuohy, has suggested rebranding the old N7 as a tourist route, as one initiative to encourage more visitors to the county.
At last week’s meeting of Laois County Council, he called on the county to draw up a strategic five year Tourism sector plan with a view to boosting the local economy and employment potential.
In response, the council said that Laois Tourism, the body established to promote and market the county as a tourist destination at home and abroad completed a new Tourism Strategy in 2014 which covers the period 2014-2016. Their response continued to say that the Board of Laois Tourism is currently having an operation review, which will include reviewing the current strategy with all the appropriate stakeholders. Laois Tourism also propose to produce a short (1 year), medium (3 year) and long term (5 year) strategy document.
“We have to start thinking outside of the box, we can’t continue to rely on the ploughing championships as they could be gone next year and we’re not getting as much out of Electric Picnic as we should. We need to bring people off the motorways and back into the towns.”
“We have to work harder at it, we’re not a county like Kerry,” Cllr Willie Aird said.
“People laughed at us with our bicycle routes, but look how popular bicycles are now. The loss of the tourism officer was a huge blow,” he said.