Chapter 11 Tourism and Recreation

Closed4 Jun, 2021, 12:00am - 30 Aug, 2021, 11:59pm

11.0 Introduction

Tourism and recreation make a positive contribution to the economic and social wellbeing of County Wicklow.  In 2017, 275,000 overseas tourists visited the County generating revenue of €73m with a further 319,000 domestic visitors generating an estimated €49m in revenue. The tourism sector took a significant hit as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic1.

The County’s tourism and recreational attractions are important assets, which form the basis of the County’s tourism industry and which are fundamental to the enjoyment of the County by both visitors and residents. Attractions range from areas of scenic beauty, which provide attractive natural bases for outdoor pursuits, such as the Wicklow mountains, which comprise mountain peaks, valleys, rivers and lakes, the coastline with long stretches of sandy beaches and dunes and the numerous woodlands. The County has a rich heritage of archaeological and historical sites, manor homes and gardens, and attractive towns and villages. In addition, there are a number of golf and resort hotels, and adventure centres, which are within driving distance of Dublin that are attracting increasing numbers of visitors and business related events.  

Wicklow’s close proximity to Dublin offers significant opportunities to expand the existing tourism offer and brand for the County. With Dublin’s increasing importance as a popular destination for city-breaks, Wicklow’s scenic beauty and rich built and natural heritage provide opportunities to attract visitors from the nearby City-region. Furthermore, the County can benefit from the constrained capacity of the capital city and act as an accommodation base for those visiting Dublin and the east. 

While County Wicklow is a particularly attractive location for day-trippers, the additional enhancement of the visitor experience is needed to increase dwell time – particularly in the west, east and south of the County, and ensure the County fully benefits from growth in the tourism sector. The implementation of strategies and programmes by the tourism agencies aim to ensure that visitors are aware of, and directed to, a broad range of attractions across the County, thereby better managing visitor numbers at sites.  

Although the County must continue to provide for the positive development of tourism and recreational assets, it is necessary that these facilities are managed in a sustainable manner so as to protect against any potential detrimental impacts on the environment and local communities. In this respect, the Council is conscious that development can potentially harm and damage the assets it seeks to exploit, in particular through excessive visitor numbers, inappropriate development, various types of pollution and other forms of adverse impact. The relationship between tourism / recreation and the environment must be managed in a way that continues to support local communities and remains viable in the long term. 

The County’s rich heritage and wealth of natural amenities are significant assets and need to be managed in a sustainable manner. There are significant opportunities to capitalise on the potential of these assets, grow tourism and enhance the development of outdoor pursuits in a manner that respects and protects the intrinsic character of the County. This chapter will aim to promote and facilitate the development of sustainable tourism and recreation and will set out objectives to deal with land use matters pertaining to the planning and development of the tourism and recreation sectors, including general matters, tourism related developments including tourist accommodation, facilities and interpretive centres, integrated tourism/leisure/recreational complexes, tourist / recreational infrastructure and the promotion of specific tourist themes and products.  

Continue reading Chapter 11: Download PDF 

1. In 2020 revenue from the tourism sector declined by €6bn – Failte Ireland CEO statement: Oireachtas Joint Committee on Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport & the Gaeltacht 



Public Transport, Tourism, Recreation and Coastal Zone Management.
Ch. 11 Tourism and Recreation General Comment: In relation to developing much needed walking trail networks as identified within the objectives of the CDP. It is strongly suggested that...
We would like to see Newtownmountkennedy and the Mountain to Sea Greenway included in the Tourism Strategy for the county.
  Why is there no section on safe horse riding routes and amenity areas for horse riding in the county plan? There is provision for walkers, climbers, cyclists etc but none for horse...
CHAPTER 11 TOURISM & RECREATION While there is mention of sustainability and protecting the environment, there is not enough emphasis on this aspect, particularly around protecting...