Donegal County Council became the first County Council in Ireland to join FEDETON (Federation of Nautical Tourism) at the recent Nautical Tourism Summit held in Brussels on 29th April 2014. The event was attended by Maria Ferguson representing Donegal County Council EU Policy and Funding Unit and Joy Harron Marine Marketing & Development Officer for Donegal Tourism Ltd.
Opportunities for Growth with European Nautical Tourism Manifesto
At the event Donegal County Council was one of the inaugural signatories to the ‘European Manifesto for Sustainable Nautical Tourism’ which details the guiding principles set out by FEDETON to ensure the positive future development of the nautical tourism sector in member regions like Donegal. Ms. Ferguson was presented with a certificate from FEDETON and was delighted to accept on behalf of Michael O’Heanaigh, Director of Services for Donegal County Council.
Commitment to Protecting Marine Natural Biodiversity
The manifesto seeks to maximise economic growth in Nautical Tourism while at the same time preserving the natural biodiversity and heritage of coastal destinations. Members of FEDETON supporting the manifesto are committed to protecting coastal ecosystems and marine species with minimal waste through good economic best practice.
Positive Nautical Tourism Innovation and Development Initiatives
The goal of FEDETON is also to create local employment and to support innovation in the Nautical Tourism sector and engage with coastal communities in generating growth in the sector while working with EU policy making structures. Donegal County Council will join other European coastal destinations in bidding for EU funding during the 2014-2020 period and will seek to work closely with other coastal destinations to successfully develop and create new opportunities in the Nautical Tourism sector.
Endorsed by Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries
The summit was attended by Maria Damanaki, Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, and by Committee of the Regions President Ramón Luis Valcárcel, where they officially recognised the manifesto and pledged support for coordination of Nautical Tourism at a European level due to the significant expansion of this sector in recent years. Ms. Damanaki expressed her commitment to developing Nautical Tourism in Europe due to the high potential to continue to grow the sector.
A Bright Future for Nautical Tourism
Donegal County Council has much experience in implementing very successful marine themed projects such as Sail West under INTERREG IVA and is confident that as a member of FEDETON, the future is very positive for Nautical Tourism in Donegal and partner regions. Speaking after the summit, Joy Harron from Donegal Tourism Ltd stated that ‘membership of FEDETON is a very positive step for Donegal County Council. As the first to join in Ireland, this has shown a commitment towards sustainable nautical tourism and a strong desire to work collectively with other European coastal destinations to develop the Nautical Tourism sector in our regions and to create a network of Nautical Tourism destinations of excellent throughout Europe. This signals a new chapter in growth and development in this sector for Donegal’.