Galway's Tourism Strategy will be monitored over 5 years and continuously assessed to adapt to a range of changes, including Covid-19. The programme and associated annual Action Plans will provide the context for a range of innovative tourism marketing and development plans, as well as the provision for Government funded projects.
Tourism is a very important industry for the local economy and communities of Galway. 12-14% of businesses in Galway are involved in tourism and the sector accounts for 10-12% of employment in the city (ITIC, 2015). The actions prioritised in this strategy aim to support and develop visitor experiences, increase visitor dwell time, extend the shoulder season and increase revenue throughout the city, within a framework of environmental management and respecting local communities.
A clear, succinct and ambitious vision for Galway City emerged. This vision, based around Europe 2020 of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, has been driven by Galway City Council through the development of a robust policy framework.
To continue to evolve, Galway City must respond to a rapidly changing world. The existing and emerging strengths of Galway must be capitalised upon to secure the city's competitiveness. Digital technologies must be embraced as international and EU emphasis moves onto smart, sustainable cities. Citizen engagement through collaboration, dialogue and participation in local government must be encouraged and all aspects of diversity, cultural identity and expression must be valued.
The threats faced by all urban areas, of unemployment, segregation and poverty, must be turned into positive challenges as Galway takes its place as a key driver of economic, social and community development in Europe and beyond.
Our goal is simple – we want to revitalise the industrial methods of tourism.
This strategy strongly focusses on managing Galway as a destination by developing its reputation, branding and marketing; building capacity within businesses and communities; developing research; stimulating ingenuity and developing, delivering and managing exceptional experiences. Such an approach requires a collaborative and sustained effort.
In preparing this strategy, the Tourism Industry, Local Authorities, Public Bodies and Community organisations believe that Galway offers visitors a unique opportunity to engage with Ireland’s people, language, heritage, food, culture and landscape through authentic, sustainable and unforgettable experiences.
Galway is a growing city. The population of the city has grown from 47,000 in 1986 to currently stand at 75,529 and the city has previously had the title of the fastest growing city in Europe. Galway is a cultural, creative city. The arts flourish, with its bohemian and European twist, involving the community and encouraging creativity.
Galway is a multi-cultural city. Galway is recognised internationally as a city which celebrates
diversity. According to Census, Galway City is the most multi-cultural location in
Ireland with 19.4% of its residents recorded as non-Irish, compared to a national average of
12%. It is also Ireland's only bilingual city with a strong history and tradition of the Irish
Galway City and County have natural advantages in terms of location of higher education institutions, public research organisations, a diverse industrial base, a creative economy with an international reputation, and a distinct identity.
25% of City’s population are students with over 11,000 individuals employed within the education sector of Galway. With established links to universities and R&D institutions, there are high levels of educational attainment and skills throughout Galway.
The county’s richness of culture coupled with diversified sectors are key elements of place-based innovation. From these foundations, there are growing business start-ups, which are evident in Galway’s ICT and food sectors.