02.07.2019, County Donegal

Launch of the TrailGazersBid project

This project will look at new and innovative ways that walks and recreational trails can better link with the local communities

An Cathaoirleach Cllr. Nicholas Crossan recently launched a brand new project called the TrailGazersBid - An analytical & technical framework to measure returns from trail investment - which will look at new and innovative ways that walks and recreational trails can better link with the surrounding local and rural communities to enhance economic and social development.  The project has 10 partners from different regions in Ireland, the UK, Spain, Portugal and France, all of which bring with them a vast amount of experience and knowledge that will help develop and enhance the opportunities presented in this growing sector.
The €2.7m project, launched in the Inishowen Gateway Hotel, is being led by Donegal County Council,  and invites trail tourists to digitally and physically enjoy local trails in a contemporary and innovative manner.
Speaking before the launch Cllr. Crossan said “walking and hiking have increased in popularity and attract more and more visitors to the county to explore and experience all that Donegal and the region has to offer”. He added “walking and recreational trails are also important assets in our community, in that, they help improve both our physical and mental wellbeing, they allow people to socialise much more easily and they also offer us an opportunity to get back in touch with nature providing sustainable access to special areas of conversation, wildlife sanctuaries and ancient woodlands and so on.”
Anecdotal evidence suggests that the number of visitors to these walks and trails have increased in recent years, with people travelling further afield to participate in walking festivals, coastal and mountain challenges and sponsored walks.
TrailGazers offers an opportunity for key stakeholders to come together to examine how best to engage with these new visitors and encourage them off the trails to explore what the wider area has to offer including for example cafes, craft shops, artisan foods, hotels and pubs and encourage them to stay longer.  This is the essence of what Trail Gazers is setting out to achieve -  by examining how walks and recreational trails can be used as catalysts for the economic and social development of small rural economies and communities in an environmentally sustainable way.
This project is co financed  under Priority 4 ‘Enhancing biodiversity and the natural and cultural assets’; Programme Objective 4.2 ‘Enhancing natural and cultural assets to stimulate economic development ‘ of the Interreg Atlantic Area Programme through the European Regional Development Fund.

Published on: 0004-07-20

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