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Marine Tourism Conference at Redcastle 12.09.19

DONEGAL’S special relationship with the sea provided the centre piece for last week’s Marine Tourism Conference which took place in the Redcastle Oceanfront Hotel on Thursday and Friday.
Almost 100 people attended the two-day conference and the diverse range of speakers included renouned marine biologist and wildlife cameraman Doug Allan.
Doug Allan enthralled the audience with fascinating stories, photography and film clips on tracking polar bears and getting up close and personal with killer whales and leopard seals. He concluded his presentation with a stark insight to the effects of climate change particularly at the poles where he has witnessed first hand the effects of the change in sea ice cover on the populations of animals north and south and shared his insight on how best to develop marine tourism in Donegal in a sustainable and responsible way.
 Pictured at the Donegal Marine Tourism Conference are Cllr. Niamh Kennedy Leas Chathaoirleach, Donegal County Council and Seamus Neely, Donegal County Council with guest speaker Doug Allan.
In his opening address to the conference, Seamus Neely chief executive in Donegal County Council and chair of Donegal Tourism CLG reflected on the county’s progress over the last 10 years and said that “notwithstanding the uncertainties around Brexit being played out as we speak in Westminster, I believe that today is the right day to be meeting to reflect on the journey we have made in the last number of years and to explore the trajectory that we need to be taking in the next 10.”
Seamus reflected on the progress made in the tourism product in Donegal and how the Wild Atlantic Way has delivered for Donegal including major investment in key visitor attractions such as Sliabh Liagh, Malin Head and Fanad Lighthouse. He also acknowledged that the Donegal brand is a strong brand and that the focused approach to marketing Donegal has allowed the county to punch above its weight by pooling resources and achieving greater impact in the marketplace.
 William McElhinney from Wild Strands Caife, Malin Head who spoke at the Marine Tourism Conference in Redcastle.
Inishowen native and local entrepreneur William McElhinney, from Wild Strands Caife in Malin Head, shared his story of setting up his own family business and of his passion for seaweed. He talked about his journey which has seen him open-up an experiential Caife in Malin Head based on seaweed and devised around local organic produce. He also spoke about his passion for preserving and reviving marine built heritage and his role in the building of three traditional Donegal boats.
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