Local business owners are welcoming the Waterford Greenway as a key contributor to future job creation and a boost for the tourism and hospitality sectors in the south-east.

Top television chef Paul Flynn, who owns the Tannery Restaurant in Dungarvan, joined Donal Jacob of Greenway Waterford Bike Hire in highlighting the potential of Waterford Greenway to become Ireland’s premier dedicated walking and cycling destination once fully opened.

The 46km Waterford Greenway – stretching from Waterford City to Dungarvan – is expected to attract large numbers of domestic and international visitors annually once launched in its entirety in Spring 2017. The first phase of the multi-million euro development, a 23km section from Kilmacthomas to Dungarvan, is now open for use to the public.

Pledging his support for Waterford Greenway, Paul Flynn said:  “Tourism is vital to the local economy. Waterford Greenway will place the Déise firmly on the tourist trail and bring significant benefits to the whole county. It will support existing businesses and encourage new employment opportunities as well.”

Mr Flynn, who is currently appearing on the RTÉ series Lords & Ladles, added: “I have been in business for 20 years in Dungarvan and I can already see the positive impact the Greenway has made in just months, particularly in the hospitality industry. It has been rejuvenating, and the enthusiasm for the development is overwhelming.”

Donal Jacob, who runs Greenway Waterford Bike Hire, stated: “The Greenway will make a big difference to businesses in Waterford. This Greenway is as good as any worldwide.” He added: “In the words of Kevin Costner from one of my favourite films, Fields of Dreams, ‘If you build it, they will come’.”

The Waterford Greenway is being developed by Waterford City and County Council with the co-operation of local property owners, the support of communities along the route, and with supporting funding from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.

Speaking on the initiative, Director of Services at Waterford City & County Council, Lar Power said: “We know the value of a strong tourism sector to economic growth and job creation. The Waterford Greenway is a five star product that will have a positive impact on both existing businesses and innovative start-ups, and is an important part of the drive to continue to build and strengthen a strong economy in Waterford.”

Maps of the Waterford Greenway are now available from the Tourist Information Offices in Waterford City, Tramore and Dungarvan, the Lismore Heritage Centre, the Bishop’s Palace, Medieval Museum, and in hotels and other accommodation providers across the city and county. They can also be downloaded from www.visitwaterfordgreenway.com.

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