The Heritage Council has launched its Strategic Plan 2012-2016, which focuses on developing the value of the heritage sector to employment, education and the quality of heritage tourism. The Heritage Council’s five year Strategic Plan identifies 16 objectives focused on supporting employment, education and awareness, and heritage-based tourism.
Supporting employment through investment in heritage infrastructure will focus in particular on innovative and new approaches to the understanding, maintenance, enjoyment and quality of our natural and cultural heritage (examples include Ireland Reaching Out and the Burren Charter). To date, 1012 jobs are supported in local authorities through the Heritage Officer Programme and the Irish Walled Towns Network. To secure current and future employment, the Heritage Council is committed to supporting Local Authority through the provision of expert advice and sustained investment.
The Heritage Council aims to build education and awareness through development of the ‘Heritage in Schools’ scheme from 110,000 participants in 2011 to 200,000 in 2016, and the dissemination of research on the physical and mental benefits for children of learning outdoors. The creation of qualifications in Landscape Character and Biological Recording in partnership with third-level institutes will also encourage an integrated approach to heritage education and landscape studies.
Every €1 million spent on grants by the Heritage Council supports 70 jobs directly and 300 jobs across a range of related sectors. Grant programmes that contribute to the development of jobs, education and a quality tourism offering will continue to be supported by the Heritage Council.
Research shows that in 2010, Heritage Council projects attracted approximately 18,700 tourists, while every €1 spent by the Heritage Council generated €4.40 for the Irish tourism industry. The Heritage Council Strategic Plan aims to build year-on-year on tourist numbers while also maintaining the 4.1 ratio of return on investment.
Heritage-based tourism will be supported through investment in a new historic towns and village’s initiative in collaboration with Failte Ireland, and the development of a community-led approach to celebrate the 1916 Centenary. Increasing Ireland’s international profile and tourism potential, the Heritage Council also aims to build on the success of National Heritage Week, increasing public participation from 600,000 in 2011 to 1 million in 2016.
The Heritage Council Strategic Plan 2012-2016 is available at www.heritagecouncil.ie.