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Fáilte Ireland believes that it can generate 50,000 more bed nights and €13m in tourist revenue by promoting the Wild Atlantic Way as a route for international and Irish cycling enthusiasts.

The state agency has teamed up with cycling specialists Ride Wild to launch the Wild Atlantic Way Cycle Sportif – a series of bi-annual cycling events along the coastal route. Fáilte Ireland is to invest €650,000 in the initiative between now and 2020, with the ambition to grow the average number of cyclists per day from 400 in 2018 to 1,000 per day in 2020.

Cyclist Eduardo Lonigi, Ride Wild’s Cycling Director Michael O’Boyle Failte Ireland CEO Paul Kelly and Cyclist Mark Kenny. Photo: Fennells

Cyclist Eduardo Lonigi, Ride Wild’s Cycling Director Michael O’Boyle, Failte Ireland CEO Paul Kelly and Cyclist Mark Kenny

An inaugural ride will take place this September and a further two events per year will take place from 2018 to 2020.

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“We are developing the logistics and events along the route that, I believe, will build a strong reputation for the Wild Atlantic Way as an attractive cycling destination. Indeed, if we get this right, the Wild Atlantic Way Cycle Sportif will become a ‘must-do’ item for international and domestic cyclists,” Fáilte Ireland CEO Paul Kelly said.

He added: “If we can meet our visitor targets, we estimate that the Cycle Sportif could generate over €13m and up to 50,000 bed nights. Importantly, we will also be generating significant visitor activity in off-season months which will help businesses stay open longer. This is a real bonus for areas that are outside the traditional tourist hot spots.”

Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Brendan Griffin said: “The additional tourism activity generated will benefit many small rural communities all along the west coast. I am particularly pleased to welcome an event which will attract visitors and increase bed-nights across the full length of the Wild Atlantic Way during off-peak times of the year.”

More details for September’s event will be available on www.wildatlanticwaycyclesportif.ie with the route of the Sportif also available online on popular cycling platforms Ride with GPS, Map My Ride, and Strava.

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