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UNIVERSITY OF ULSTER

DONEGAL MARINE & WATER LEISURE PROGRAMME

MARINE DISCOVERY CENTRE


LOUGH SWILLY
A Centre of Excellence in Marine Spatial Planning and Visitor Education

Implementation Proposal

Report prepared by above named for:


Donegal County Council
and Buncrana Town Council
May 2009
REPORT NO. 2 OF 2
Ref. 9R3417.AO
Marine Discovery Centre Lough Swilly : Implementation Plan_

SUMMARY Document title MARINE DISCOVERY CENTRE


Donegal County Council and Buncrana Town Council wish to
LOUGH SWILLY
investigate the feasibility of establishing a Coastal Research &
Education Centre at Lough Swilly in Co. Donegal which is to have A Centre of Excellence in Marine Spatial Planning and
combined functions in tourism, public education and marine Visitor Education
research. Implementation Proposal
Document short title
As such the centre is to be a catalyst for marine spatial planning
(MSP) in the future. Royal Haskoning and University of Ulster have Status Report (No. 2 of 2)
been appointed as consultants by Donegal County Council to work
Date May 2009
with its Marine Leisure Programme to assess the feasibility of the
proposal and to provide an implementation plan if viable. Project name Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly

We have completed this brief in two stages: firstly through


completion of an initial feasibility report in June 2006 showing the Project number 9R3417.A0
centre to be viable; secondly through completion of the current Author(s) Andrew Cooper, Kevin O’Connor, Jessica Hodgson.
report by University of Ulster and the Donegal Marine Leisure
Programme which updates the 2006 report to take account of
emerging EU Maritime Policy and sets out a proposal for Client Donegal County Council
development and management of the Centre. Reference 9R3417.A0/R004/EJH/Irel2

The report that lies before you is the second of our two reports. It is presented in six sections with two appendices setting out our proposals for the establishment
of the “Marine Discovery Centre Lough Swilly”. We consider that the centre can facilitate research on MSP leading to the establishment of a pilot model for
local authority / research agency / coastal stakeholder partnership on marine spatial planning. This MSP process can, in our opinion, be fast-tracked by a public
education programme aimed both at school children and visitors to the centre. We have set out proposals in the report to achieve this.

In order to facilitate the development of the centre, we have been working with Donegal County Council to secure funding for an MSP project officer. This
effort has met with success and the Council is now working on a three-year pilot project in Lough Swilly with the University of Ulster and University College
Cork as part of the Interreg funded IMCORE project on climate change and marine spatial planning. This presents an excellent platform for the establishment of
the proposed Marine Discovery Centre Lough Swilly as an education and research tool. We strongly recommend that this research link be extended to include
the key marine research agencies on both sides of the Irish border. We consider the project to be financially viable subject to grant aid for capital build.

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Marine Discovery Centre Lough Swilly : Implementation Plan_

CONTENTS page
1. BACKGROUND: FINDINGS OF 2006 FEASIBILITY STUDY ............................................................................................................................................ 3
1.1. Recommendation on Project Implementation 3
1.2. Recommendation on Marine Research (ICZM and Marine Spatial Planning) 3
1.3. Recommendation on Marine Education and Tourism on Lough Swilly 3
2. PROJECT PROPOSED: MARINE DISCOVERY CENTRE AT BUNCRANA................................................................................................................... 4
3. FIT WITH EU MARITIME POLICY ....................................................................................................................................................................................... 6
3.1. Review of Policy Development 1992 to 2009 6
3.2. Policy Relevance: to Ireland, Donegal and Lough Swilly Marine Centre 9
4. DEVELOPMENT OF MARINE SPATIAL PLANNING RESEARCH ............................................................................................................................... 11
4.1. Description of Marine Spatial Planning Concept 11
4.2. Appointment and Funding of a Project Manager 12
4.3. Role of the Project Manager 12
4.4. Linkages with Research Bodies 13
4.5. MSP Fit with Swilly Centre 13
5. DEVELOPMENT OF A MARINE EDUCATION AND TOURISM FOCUS ..................................................................................................................... 14
5.1. Description of Education Function 14
5.2. Links to Education Curricula 15
5.3. Market for Education 20
5.4. Description of Tourism Function 20
5.5. Market for Tourism 26
6. BUSINESS PLANNING AND IMPLEMENTATION............................................................................................................................................................ 28
6.1. Cost Projections and Assumptions: Facilities, Building & Staffing 28
6.2. Income Projections and Assumptions: Education and Tourism 29
6.3. Marketing Plan 29
6.4. Ownership, Grant Aid and Matching Funds 29
6.5. Key Decisions and Actions to Develop Swilly Centre 30
APPENDIX 1 (Financial projections for 5 years)
APPENDIX 2 (Annual marketing plan)

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Marine Discovery Centre Lough Swilly : Implementation Plan_

1. BACKGROUND: Findings of 2006 Feasibility Study

The 2006 Feasibility Report for the proposed centre concluded that Buncrana is the most suitable location for the marine / coastal Centre. The following three
recommendations were made in the feasibility report in relation to developing and implementing a workable concept:
1.1. Recommendation on Project Implementation
- Await the publication of the EU Maritime Policy before deciding on the final form of the Swilly proposal.
- The Centre should concentrate on education and tourism. There is insufficient scope for a research function at this stage (see conclusions 1.2 and 1.3 below
for further detail on this).
- Donegal County Council should work with the University of Ulster and other interested parties to develop a Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) framework for
Lough Swilly, including the appointment of a project officer to work with local stakeholders (to develop the Council’s planning function in the coastal
environment) and to drive the development of the Swilly Centre as a maritime education and tourism facility.

1.2. Recommendation on Marine Research (ICZM and Marine Spatial Planning)


- Lough Swilly does not currently have a basis for an Integrated Coastal Zone Management strategy as few of the key areas of best-practice outlined in the
feasibility study are currently in place.
- The Swilly Centre is unlikely to attract tenants to use research facilities as good labs already exist in Letterkenny, Derry, Coleraine, Galway, Dublin etc.
Therefore, in our opinion, the building should not include expensive laboratory or research facilities.
- Marine Spatial Planning is the primary starting point in the development of ICZM. Hence, we recommend the appointment of a Project Officer to work with
Donegal County Council, Buncrana Town Council and Local Stakeholders to develop a marine spatial plan for Lough Swilly. Subsequently, this can be
merged with terrestrial land-based planning to develop an integrated plan for the coastal area around Lough Swilly and beyond, i.e. an ICZM plan;
- Linkages should be developed with marine research bodies (e.g. Marine Institute, University Ulster, BIM, Letterkenny IT, EPA, etc) to develop the concept
of ICZM on Lough Swilly. An effort should be made to link with the Northern Ireland ICZM process;
- Opportunities for international, interregional and national funding to assist in implementing these recommendations should be pursued with suitable partners.

1.3. Recommendation on Marine Education and Tourism on Lough Swilly


- The visitor focus of the Centre should be to showcase information on the Swilly Marine & Coastal Environment. This could include exhibitions of
equipment used in local fishing and aquaculture including traditional techniques and boats, information and exhibits relating to marine archaeology and
history, maps and photographs of the Lough showing key features above and below the water line, information on the state of local fish stocks including
salmon and shellfish, and the latest sea bed mapping information from research agencies such as the Marine Institute. Chapter 3 of the feasibility study
presented opportunity maps as examples of available data.
- The educational focus of the Centre (for visitors and students) should be to inform people about the interaction of humans with the marine environment. This
should embrace everything from local fish species to mammals to water quality to seabed mapping to coastal erosion to climate change to marine spatial
planning to integrated coastal zone management. The education programme should be as interactive as possible, using latest visual technology such as that
found at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute. There is scope to work with the Marine Institute, BIM, National Parks & Wildlife Service, Regional Fisheries
Board, local third level colleges and key agencies on both sides of the border to exhibit the information they possess about marine & coastal processes.

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- Set an annual visitor target of c.60,000 in the medium term using a relatively small building similar in size to the centre at Portrush (with room to expand at a
later date).
- Using savings on building scale, invest in a substantial tour vessel to carry about 50 passengers (with itineraries linked to the Centre’s education and
interpretative programmes).

2. PROJECT PROPOSED: Marine Discovery Centre at Buncrana

Arising from our feasibility study (2006) and based on our analysis of similar centres elsewhere, we now propose the provision of a 350 sq.m. visitor centre with
information displays both physical and computer-based, working in tandem with a tour vessel. Relative to the performance of similar centres we have examined,
it is anticipated that the facility can attract approximately 35,000 visitors in year 1, building gradually to about 60,000 p.a. within 5 years. The centre will employ
5 full-time and 3 part-time staff. Full financial tables for 5 years are appended which project that the facility including vessel will cost about €3.85million to
provide and can be profitable by year 3.
Sections 3, 4 and 5 of this report set out the key underpinnings and basis for the proposal: i.e. (s.3) how the proposal fits with the emerging EU and International
policy debate about climate change and global warming thereby making the project innovative, topical and timely; (s.4) how the centre can help to drive local
debate on climate change and its likely effects on local coastal and maritime areas; (s.5) how the project can influence the way people think about exploitation
and conservation of coastal and marine resources.
Section 6 deals with the business end of the proposal. While we feel that the marine education and conservation themes of the centre will be in demand and will
make it stand out from most other marine-themed centres in Ireland, it is clear from our financial assessment (see appendix 1) that the project will require
considerable grant aid and seed funding to make it happen. While it may be possible to attract an experienced operator to run the facility, it is probably
unfeasible to expect the private sector to finance the building. Therefore, it will only become a reality if driven by Buncrana Town Council and Donegal County
Council through provision of a site and a contribution to running costs. However, given current global concern about environmental management combined with
the unique tourism / educational focus of the proposed centre, it should stand a good chance of attracting grant support. These chances will be enhanced if the
centre is involved in collaborative marine spatial planning and coastal management initiatives with key research agencies and local authority partners on both
sides of the border. As outlined in our 2006 feasibility study, there are also a number of international organisations that would be willing to work with the centre
on MSP and ICZM projects once it is up and running. The key to delivering the proposal is the engagement of an experienced project manager to drive the
establishment of the centre in tandem with the MSP process.
The project proposal is based directly on the three key recommendations made in the 2006 report (summarised in section 1 above). Important changes have
occurred in the period since the feasibility report was concluded, particularly in relation to the adoption of a more strategic approach to maritime policy by the
European Commission: this new policy lends much greater credibility to the Buncrana proposal than could have been argued in 2006. Section 3 below describes
this change in detail: effectively the EU has greatly increased the pressure on member states to address the issues of climate change, coastal erosion, and

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Marine Discovery Centre Lough Swilly : Implementation Plan_

exploitation of maritime resources for commercial, leisure and tourism purposes and has called for the development of national and regional marine spatial
planning. This has been formally adopted as the EU Integrated Maritime Policy1 and the Maritime Strategy Framework Directive2.
In addition, as recommended in our 2006 feasibility report (see section 1.1 above), Donegal County Council and the University of Ulster have continued to work
together on methodologies to address the need for Integrated Coastal Zone Management. This effort has contributed to the formation of a pan-European coastal
research alliance among 17 groups in Ireland, UK, France, Belgium and the Netherlands (named ‘IMCORE’, an acronym for Innovative Management of
Europe’s Changing Coastal Resource). The IMCORE partnership has been awarded Interreg funding to carry out local research in coastal areas during 2008-
2011 with a view to developing local marine spatial plans for ultimate assessment as part of a wider integrated coastal zone management strategy. As a partner,
Donegal County Council has been awarded funding to appoint a project officer to develop a marine spatial plan for Lough Swilly (MSP). As part of this the
establishment of a Marine Education Centre was agreed as a key instrument in developing this MSP process: through development of public education
programmes and by acting as a focal point for all stakeholders in Lough Swilly.
Sections 2 to 4 of our 2006 report covering Integrated Coastal Zone Management, Opportunity Mapping and Concept Development, set out a vision for how the
Swilly Centre might function and develop.
Pulling all of the above strands together (EU Policy, IMCORE Project, Vision for Centre) and linking with the three key recommendations outlined in section 1
above, we now propose that Donegal County Council should work with Buncrana Town Council and all relevant Marine Stakeholders in both the public and
private sectors to do the following:
• Appoint a Project Manager to steer the IMCORE project and to drive the establishment of a Marine Education / Visitor Centre on Lough Swilly;
• Establish a Coastal Forum among interested stakeholders in Lough Swilly;
• Establish links between this Forum and the Northern Ireland Coastal Marine Forum, initially via the University of Ulster;
• Develop a Marine Spatial Plan (MSP) for Lough Swilly;
• Build the proposed Marine Education / Visitor Centre at Buncrana;
• Develop and market a schools’ education programme at the Centre;
• Develop and market an interpretative programme for visitors at the Centre;
• Oversee the procurement of a suitable tour vessel to be based at the Centre, capable of safely navigating the Lough and the Coastline out to Malin Head
and Fanad Head.

The working title “Marine Discovery Centre Lough Swilly” is suggested for use in the implementation plan in order to appeal to research bodies, schools, tourists
and prospective investors. It will be a matter for Buncrana Town Council and the local community to decide on a final title.

1
COM (2007) 575. Commission of the European Communities. Brussels, 10 October 2007.
2
Directive 2008 / 56 / EC of the European Parliament and of the Council. 17 June 2008.
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3. FIT WITH EU MARITIME POLICY

3.1. Review of Policy Development 1992 to 2009

Introduction: “Just think for a moment of how much an integrated approach can boost the prosperity of coastal regions, while assuring environmental
protection of the seas and thus allowing for the continued development of tourism. Just think how an integrated approach could help ease the consequences of
climate change, like rising sea levels and increased virulence and frequency of storms, by supporting continued investment in economic activity in coastal
regions. A coordinated approach, including increased use of structural funds, will have to ensure that global warming does not become an impediment to growth
and job creation in coastal regions” (José Manuel Barossa, President of the European Commission)3.

History of Maritime Policy: There is a long history of EU maritime policy which until recently has been developed with a sectoral focus e.g. the Common
Fisheries Policy and the Maritime Transport Policy. This section provides a summary of key marine-related policies and agreements signed up to by the Irish
government (broadly in chronological order, though in reality often overlapping).

• 1992 OSPAR Convention: Adopts the ecosystem approach to managing the marine ecosystems at a local level. The principle behind this agreement includes
the use of indigenous and local knowledge, innovations and practices being inclusive of all relevant sectors of society.

• 1992 Agenda 21: Commits to the integrated management and sustainable development of the coastal zone including exclusive economic zones. It is
recognised in Agenda 21 that many of the solutions to problems can be found at a local level and that the participation and involvement of Local Authorities
is important to ensure information from all stakeholders is gathered through consultation processes in order to develop best-fit strategies4.

• Natura 2000 - Network of protected areas: The EC Birds Directive establishes a framework for Special Protection Areas (SPA) and the Habitats Directive
enables the allocation of Special Areas of Conservation (SAC).

• 2000 - Water Framework Directive: Member States have to deliver a statutory framework to achieve good ecological status in transitional estuarine and
coastal waters and internal river basins.

3
Extract from: Bounding Europe, Binding Europeans: a maritime policy for our oceans and seas. From a speech by José Manuel Barossa, President of the European
Commission, at the Maritime Policy Conference Bremen, 2 May 2007.
4
Flannery W. and M. Ó Cinnéide. 2008. Marine spatial planning from the perspective of a small seaside community in Ireland. NUI Galway.
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• 2002 - European Parliament and Council Recommendation


for ICZM: All member states to conduct a national stock-
take to determine which actors, laws and institutions
influence the planning and management of coastal zones.
Based on this stock-take Member States were invited to
develop a national strategy to implement ICZM by March
2006.

• 2001/2005 - Lisbon Agenda: Aims to make Europe the most


dynamic and competitive knowledge-based economy in the
world capable of sustainable economic growth with more
and better jobs and greater social cohesion, and respect for
the environment by 2010. The Gothenburg Agenda for
sustainability is intrinsically linked to the Lisbon Agenda
and specifically highlights issues related to climate change
and resource management.

• June 2007 - European Commission Green Paper Towards a


Future Maritime Policy for the Union: A European vision
for the oceans and seas. The Maritime Green Paper was
designed to stimulate debate amongst all maritime
stakeholders and at all levels of governance. The paper
argues that European policies on the many facets of the
maritime environment (namely; maritime transport, industry, coastal regions, offshore energy, fisheries and aquaculture, marine environment, socio-
economic cohesion and other sectors) had developed separately and that no attempt had been made to take a holistic approach to improve these policy areas
or to examine in a systematic manner how these policies could be combined to reinforce one another. The Green Paper proposed development of an all-
embracing maritime policy aimed at building a dynamic maritime economy in harmony with the environment, supported by sound scientific research and
technology.

• October 2007 - Integrated Maritime Policy for the European Union (Commission “Blue Book”)
“An Integrated Maritime Policy will enhance Europe’s capacity to face the challenges of globalisation and competitiveness, climate change, degradation of
the marine environment, maritime safety and security, and energy security and sustainability. It must be based on excellence in marine research, technology
and innovation and will be anchored in the Lisbon agenda for jobs and growth, and the Gothenburg agenda for sustainability.”

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Marine Discovery Centre Lough Swilly : Implementation Plan_

The Integrated Maritime Policy aims to take simultaneous account of the huge variety of interests in the maritime dimension. The many complementary and
interrelated Directives, agreements and management tools discussed above will assist the implementation of this new policy. The EU Integrated Maritime
Policy will change the way policy is made and decisions are taken, and will develop and deliver a programme of work. Member states are instructed to take
further steps to embrace a more integrated governance approach and to draw up their own integrated national maritime policies working with stakeholders in
coastal regions using three tools:
o Maritime surveillance;
o Maritime Spatial Planning & Integrated Coastal Zone Management (MSP/ ICZM);
o Collection and use of comprehensive data.
The European Commission stresses the economic and social importance of the EU coastal zone including tourism, fisheries, aquaculture, commercial usage
and environmental conservation. Member states are asked to use compatible and comparable systems and to learn from each other.
• 2007 - The Agenda for a Sustainable European Tourism: recognises the crucial role that tourism plays in the EU economy following on from a Tourism
Policy paper published in March 2006: COM (2006) 134. The agenda also recognises that the development of tourist destinations is closely linked to their
natural environment, cultural distinctiveness, social interaction, security and well-being of local populations. With reference to EU maritime policy, the
agenda stated “As a first step, the Commission will focus its attention on the coastal tourism sector by assessing the effects of fast growing segments
…………, and of issues concerning competition between land and maritime uses in [the] coastal environment”5.

• March 2008 - EU Commission restructured its fisheries and maritime affairs department as ‘DG MARE’ (formerly ‘DG FISH’).

• June 2008 - EU Commission published its Marine Strategy Framework Directive, requiring member states to achieve good environmental status by 2020
through the following actions:
o Addressing all activity impacting on the marine environment;
o Taking an “Eco-system” approach to administration and management;
o Developing a strategy for marine waters by 2019;
o Establishing marine protected areas;
o Emphasising trans-boundary cooperation;
o Designating maritime regions (coordination of strategies);
o Developing national research frameworks to inform policy making.

5
COM (2007) 621. Commission of the European Communities. Brussels, 19 October 2007. P. 10.

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3.2. Policy Relevance: to Ireland, Donegal and Lough Swilly Marine Centre

Relevance of EU Maritime Policy to Ireland: The Irish Government has already committed to the directives and policies outlined above and to developing the
tools required to implement them.

• Ireland signed up to the OSPAR convention and Agenda 21 which can be seen as drivers of MSP making the case for local stakeholder involvement
throughout the process.
• Natura 2000: The Irish Government has been slow to allocate designations and has been charged in the European Court of Justice for inaction. MSP can be
used in future as a tool to coordinate, plan and implement the Natura 2000 network (Flannery & Ó’Cinnéide 2008).
• EC Water Framework Directive: This will include establishing a register of protected areas and developing a management plan which will involve spatial
planning for each river basin (Flannery & Ó’Cinnéide 2008).
• ICZM Recommendation 2002: A National ICZM strategy has not been developed in Ireland to date, however, considerable research in this and related fields
has been undertaken by the Marine Institute, the Coastal Marine Research Centre at University College Cork and other institutions around the country. The
Integrated Coastal Zone Management Strategy for Northern Ireland 2006–2026 was launched in June 2006 in response to this recommendation.
• European Commission Green Paper: The Irish government broadly welcomed the green paper and strongly supported the view that an integrated maritime
policy was necessary. The government noted that the Maritime Green Paper was consistent with the Irish policy and strategy on tourism. The Irish
government recommended that the new maritime policy for the EU should have seven elements at its core:
o Innovation;
o An effective regulatory framework;
o Protection of the Marine environment
 Ireland advocated that protection of the marine environment should form the cornerstone of an integrated maritime policy.
 “The sustainable use of marine resources and sustainable development of marine-based activities (e.g. marine leisure and tourism) are
wholly dependent on the quality of the marine environment.” The Irish response adds “An integrated maritime policy must include such
policies and instruments as Marine Spatial Planning (incorporating Integrated Coastal Zone Management).”;
o Subsidiarity, i.e. “delivering power to the level most able to deliver”;
o Fisheries and Aquaculture;
o Research and Development
 “Ireland is committed to the continued exploration and mapping of our sea area”. In relation to climate change the Irish response states:
“Marine related research can answer vital questions related to climate change.”;
o Supporting skills and infrastructure improvements.

In an Irish context the Commission has identified the most significant maritime activities (number of jobs) as follows: fisheries (10,584), coastal tourism (3,836),
short sea shipping (2,800), ports and harbours (2,552), sea ports (1,958) and recreational boating (800). The value of the marine food, leisure and technology
sectors is estimated to contribute to over € 1.2 billion per year and support over 32,000 jobs. The Commission has specifically identified Ireland’s potential to

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develop in the following fields: Ocean energy technology, marine biological resources (foods, health products), recreational boating and education in the
maritime sector6.

Relevance of EU Maritime Policy to Donegal: Of the actions outlined in the communication from the Commission on a Maritime Policy the following are of
particular relevance to the county:
• supporting the formation of maritime clusters and regional centres of maritime excellence and encouraging cooperation between research and industry;
• supporting sustainable development of coastal and marine tourism (citing specifically investigation of ways to reconcile the needs of the tourism industry
with the demands of other maritime activities);
• addressing the problem of limited maritime space and conflicts between different sea related activities using systems of Marine Spatial Planning and
Integrated Coastal Zone Management;
• facilitating and optimising the support for maritime regions and the reduction of the impact of climate change including extreme weather events in coastal
areas and risks such as coastal erosion.

Regarding reduction of the impact of climate change, the Commission is


proposing to develop a strategy for disaster prevention and a strategy for
adaptation to climate change with a focus on coastal regions: these are to be
developed in the context of climate change adaptation policies, risk reduction
strategies and EU crisis management policies linking with Regional Policy
Initiatives and/or projects via the Commission networks.

In relation to sustainable marine and coastal tourism, Commission action links


environment, transport, employment and research together. It is acknowledged
that more positive links are needed between the tourist economy, other economic
sectors and the environment so that potential conflicts become practical benefits.
The Commission has identified tourism policy, marine research, MSP, maritime
identity & heritage as the basis to promote sustainability and competitiveness in
the maritime/coastal tourism sector. Use of best practice, integrated and high-
quality management along with diversification will lead to an increase in
competitiveness and an extended tourism season. The Commission concludes
that sustainable development of this nature will be determined by national and
local policy decisions.

6
(http://ec.europa.eu/maritimeaffairs)

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Marine Discovery Centre Lough Swilly : Implementation Plan_

Relevance of EU Maritime Policy to Lough Swilly: The EU policy and legislation described above provides an ideal platform and mandate for Donegal’s local
authorities to develop Marine Spatial Planning, Integrated Coastal Zone Management and Coastal Tourism / Education as a linked entity. Donegal County
Council has been awarded INTERREG funding to do this in partnership with other regions in Ireland and Europe (see figure with map above). The objective of
this partnership, known as the IMCORE project (Innovative Management of Europe’s Changing Coastal Resource), is to develop methods and strategies that will
enable coastal areas to adapt to the impacts of climate change. This will be done by exploring and developing skills in Marine Spatial Planning, Integrated
Coastal Zone Management, future scenario visualisation and adaptive management strategies and will therefore address many of the requirements of recent
legislation. The information gathered will be developed into tools that can be used by coastal managers and will inform decision makers at local, national and
European level. The project will use an “expert couplet” approach to research problems and issues, bringing academic institutions and coastal managers together
to bridge the gap between research and practice. Lough Swilly is an ideal case study area: it is used by a wide range of stakeholders, is environmentally sensitive
having several designations (NHA, SAC & SPA), has coastal erosion and accretion issues, has a rich marine heritage and is a spectacular setting with high
tourism potential. The proposed Marine Discovery Centre would not only provide a sensitive and sustainable tourism attraction for the Buncrana area but would
be a facility that could educate current and future generations in sustainable integrated coastal management techniques; emphasise the socio-economic
importance of the marine environment; facilitate a Lough Swilly Marine/Coastal Forum and increase awareness of wider global issues like climate change. The
operation of the facility in relation to the above concepts is discussed further in section 4 below.

4. DEVELOPMENT OF MARINE SPATIAL PLANNING RESEARCH

4.1. Description of Marine Spatial Planning Concept

Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) can be defined as “the process of analysing and allocating parts of the three dimensional marine spaces (ecosystems) to specific
uses to achieve ecological, economic and social objectives that are usually specified through a political process” (By IOC, UNESCO).

Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) can be defined as: “the multi disciplinary process that brings all those involved in the development, management
and use of the coast within the framework which facilitates the integration of interests and responsibilities. The aim is to achieve common objectives and to
provide programmes for the protection and sustainable management of coastal resources and environments” (Cordah, 2001).

MSP and ICZM are therefore intrinsically linked complementary tools for planning and management in the coastal and marine environment. In line with EU
Maritime policy, we recommend that Donegal County Council uses data and information gathered by it and other organisations, academic institutions and
government departments to promote debate with local communities, stakeholders and the wider public leading to agreement of a marine spatial plan for Lough
Swilly. The information gathered should be displayed and interpreted for the benefit of local stakeholders and visitors: the Marine Discovery Centre is an ideal
medium through which to do this. In this way, the centre can become a conduit for debate, education and agreement on the threats facing the Donegal coastline
and the actions needed to stem these threats.

In short, we consider that the MSP and Tourism Policy initiatives now being promoted by the European Commission can be driven jointly under one roof in
Buncrana. The Marine Discovery Centre should also link with the emerging national ICZM policy within the Republic of Ireland (e.g. coastal stock-taking) and
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Marine Discovery Centre Lough Swilly : Implementation Plan_

with the existing Northern Ireland ICZM strategy. The latter, in particular, presents major opportunities for the Swilly Centre to become involved in cross-border
Ulster Coastline projects in MSP, ICZM and Marine Leisure.

4.2. Appointment and Funding of a Project Manager

Both the MSP process and the development of the centre itself need to be led by a Project Manager appointed by Donegal County Council, working full-time
over a two to three year period. The Council has been successful in sourcing funding for this via the Interreg IVB project IMCORE (described above). Funding
at 50% over a 3-year period has been secured to employ a Project Manager who will work on the IMCORE project in partnership with the University of Ulster.

It has been agreed with the Interreg partners that IMCORE will pursue the development of the Marine Discovery Centre and facilitation of the Marine Spatial
Planning process in Lough Swilly. The rationale for this is to develop a more strategic approach to management of the coastal zone and the marine environment
in the county particularly in relation to adapting to climate change, sustainable management and development of marine tourism in line with the new EU policies
and directives described. IMCORE will provide access to the latest research and technological advances in climate change, ICZM and MSP, which are not only
topical and of interest to the wider general public but paramount in future management of the Donegal coastline.

We recommend that Buncrana Town Council should contribute to the cost of the Project Manager as it stands to become a major beneficiary if the Marine
Discovery Centre is located in the town. The centre is unlikely to be developed in the absence of a Project Manager driving the process and sourcing
development grants. Buncrana Town Council will also need to fund the cost of planning the centre, e.g. site, design, statutory permissions (see section 6.5).

4.3. Role of the Project Manager

S/he should lead the management, implementation, organisation and planning of the project. S/he should specifically lead the development of the proposed
Marine Discovery Centre at Lough Swilly which should embrace leisure, tourism, education and marine spatial planning. Using the findings of IMCORE and
other research, s/he should also link with the forward planning and development of other projects underway in Donegal County Council’s Marine & Water
Leisure Programme, e.g. SAIL WEST, Beach Management, Sea Angling.

The project manager role should include the following primary responsibilities:
• IMCORE project implementation and administration, including timely and proper administration of all project finance and grant claims;
• Development of a pilot study for Marine Spatial Planning in Lough Swilly;
• Project managing the development of the proposed Marine Discovery Centre in Buncrana, including applications for funding;
• Positioning the Centre as a key driver of marine / coastal research, education and management in the Northwest.

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4.4. Linkages with Research Bodies

There are 17 partners participating in the IMCORE project: this connection


provides a pool of expertise and knowledge from which Donegal County Council
can benefit. An “expert couplet” approach is being used whereby local partnerships
comprising coastal managers (typically Local Authorities) and Academic
Institutions work together to build valuable research linkages. Donegal County
Council is working locally with the University of Ulster’s Centre for Coastal &
Marine Research. The IMCORE work programme is based on the recognised need
to adapt to the impacts of climate change while developing skills such as ICZM
and MSP at local, regional and EU level.

We recommend that Donegal County Council should strengthen existing


relationships with the Marine Institute, Bord Iascaigh Mhara, the Northern Irish
Marine & Coastal Forum among others to develop integrated coastal management
skills and marine spatial planning.

4.5. MSP Fit with Swilly Centre

The centre can provide a focal point for tourism, education and conservation under
one roof. Lough Swilly is a living entity with environmental, biological, economic, social and cultural characteristics and these should all be considered while
undertaking the actions prescribed in the European Commission “Blue Book”. Buncrana is our recommended location for the Marine Discovery Centre and is
ideally located between two important Sea Loughs on the North Ulster Coast, i.e. Lough Swilly and Lough Foyle. There is therefore great potential to share
information and expertise on a cross border basis when developing tourism initiatives, management strategies and planning techniques.

We think the centre can also become a conduit for the establishment of a ‘Swilly Marine Forum’, involving all stakeholders in the development of a marine
spatial plan for the Lough. There may be potential to extend the existing NI Coastal Marine Forum to Donegal in a pilot interregional scientific trial. Research
from IMCORE, academic institutions and research agencies can be demonstrated in the centre, providing a platform for discussion among stakeholders and
planners. The centre can also play a critical and practical role in facilitating the actions and policies now being advocated by the European Commission, both in
relation to marine spatial planning and tourism development.

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Marine Discovery Centre Lough Swilly : Implementation Plan_

5. DEVELOPMENT OF A MARINE EDUCATION AND TOURISM FOCUS

In preparing the implementation plan, we visited a range of existing centres that offer marine-related educational experiences. Their approaches to education and
tourism in the coastal/marine environment vary but all have met with success in their own right, e.g. the Gulf of Maine Institute, U.S.; Mara Beo Dingle
Aquarium, Co. Kerry; St Andrews Biological Station, Canada; the National Sea Life Centre, Bray, Co. Wicklow and the Coastal Zone Centre, Portrush, Co.
Antrim. The lessons emerging are: (a) there are adequate avenues of education and tourism that can be pursued in the Swilly Centre aimed at different target
audiences such as schools, community, stakeholders and the wider general public; (b) while it is important to be imaginative in attracting visitors, it is also
necessary to align closely with education curricula if the school’s market is to be seriously tackled; (c) professional management and marketing is essential.
5.1. Description of Education Function

We propose that the centre should be an education venue for primary and secondary schools on both sides of the border providing field trips, hands-on
experimentation and exploration of the marine environment, habitats and species. There are a large number of schools and third level colleges in the Swilly and
Foyle water catchments as well as a general population of 328,564 i.e. Donegal + Derry + Limavady + Strabane. Exhibitions, demonstrations and practicals
should be kept fresh, up to date and in line with the curricula for primary and secondary schools. Basic scientific experiments could be facilitated for school
children on fish species (identification and dissection) with ongoing classroom links via the internet similar to a model developed at the Gulf of Maine Research
Institute in the USA7. To secure numbers on a regular basis the Swilly Marine Discovery Centre should be established as a ‘Discover Science Centre’ linked to
the Discover Science and Engineering Programme run by Forfás on behalf of the Office of Science & Technology at the Department of Enterprise Trade &
Employment, which encourages schools to become involved in the Discover Primary Science award scheme.

Interactive Centre at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Maine, USA.

7
See www.gmri.org
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Marine Discovery Centre Lough Swilly : Implementation Plan_

5.2. Links to Education Curricula

This section outlines how the activities and programmes proposed


for the Swilly Centre can contribute to the current education
syllabus. It is anticipated that primary school students from 3rd
and 6th class and secondary school students from 3rd year and final
year will be specifically targeted. However, exhibitions in the
centre should be applicable and of benefit to all age groups. It is
recommended that the exhibitions and information provided in the
centre are developed in consultation with the National Council for
Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) and the Department of
Education and Science.

Primary Schools:
Social, Environmental and Scientific Education (SESE) is a
subject on the primary school curriculum in the Republic of
Ireland that provides opportunities for children to explore,
investigate and develop an understanding of the natural, human,
social and cultural dimensions of local and wider environments.
These opportunities are delivered through the teaching of History,
Geography and Science subjects. SESE is also concerned with the
cultivation of important values and attitudes encouraging children
to appreciate the inter-relationships of all living things and their
environments and to actively conserve these environments.
Primary curricula are divided into different strands and strand
units, the units are similar for each year but are taught at a
different level depending on the age group.

Secondary Schools:
Secondary school education is divided into 5 or 6 years. Years 1-3 prepares students for the Junior Certificate examination and students are taught the Leaving
Certificate curriculum in years 4-5 (there is an option at some schools to take a transition year course before beginning the leaving certificate course). A similar
education cycle is in place in Northern Ireland. Subjects are wide ranging and include: Science, Applied Science, Geography, History, Social Studies, Business
Studies, Languages, etc. The Swilly Marine Discovery Centre can embrace all or most of these subjects, highlighting their interrelationships and relevance to the
marine environment. A tour of the centre should ideally start from the beginning of time and chronologically move through geological and human history to
modern times incorporating new scientific research and development along the way. The following table outlines how information displays and guided tours in
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Marine Discovery Centre Lough Swilly : Implementation Plan_

the Swilly Centre would link to and reinforce the education curricula. Displays should be kept fresh and should be changed regularly. Tours may be guided but
guides should be familiar with the curriculum and should ascertain from teachers whether there are any particular areas of interest within the tour that require
specific attention or detail.

Coastal Education Centre Relevance to Primary Syllabus Relevance to Secondary Syllabus


Suggested Display/Activity Strand & Strand Unit Junior Cert Leaving Cert
BIG BANG theory. Natural Environments: Geography Agricultural Science:
Geological evolution and natural processes that have formed the The local natural environment. The human habitat: Soils.
Swilly. Land, rivers and seas of the Irish Processes and Geography:
Mountains rivers and lakes in the area. north coast. change.
Patterns and Processes.
Biochemical cycles - carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen and their Rocks and soils. Population ,
settlement patterns Regional Geography.
interdependency on each other. Weather, Climate and atmosphere. and urbanisation. Geographical
Types of soil and rock formations found in the Swilly area and the Planet Earth in Space. investigation and skills.
effect they have on: fertility of the land, crops grown, livestock Patterns in economic
chosen by farmers, acidity of freshwater courses. Materials: activity. Patterns and Processes in
Properties and characteristics of Science: economic activity.
Touch and feel displays of the different sands, gravels, stones and
rock types that can be found in the Swilly explaining how they are materials. Chemistry e.g. Air, Patterns and processes in
made and what they can be used for e.g. sand and gravel in the Materials and change. oxygen, carbon the human environment.
construction industry. dioxide and water. Geo-ecology.
Displays of fossils, different rock types and a geological cross Physics e.g. force, Culture and identity.
section of the area. light and sound.
Science:
Organic &
Environmental
Chemistry.

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Marine Discovery Centre Lough Swilly : Implementation Plan_

Coastal Education Centre Relevance to Primary Syllabus Relevance to Secondary Syllabus


Suggested Display/Activity Strand & Strand Unit Junior Cert Leaving Cert
Provide 3D virtual tours and a fly-over topographical map of the Skills and concept development: Technical graphics: Physics: Waves.
area using information from different institutional and academic A sense of place and space. Communication Geography:
sources e.g. data generated from seabed and other mapping of the Graphics.
area. Topics could include marine archaeology, geology, Maps, globes and graphical skills. Geographical
Geography investigation and skills.
shipwrecks, hydro-geomorphologic processes and the Geographical investigation skills.
hydrodynamics of Lough Swilly. The human habitat:
Processes and
Display EPA and Ordnance Survey Ireland SMARTMAP change.
technology which shows information on local water quality, water
history and land use around the Lough.
What is a resource? Human exploitation of resources in Lough Human Environment: Civic, Social and Geography:
Swilly and sustainable management of resources. People living and working in the Political Education: Patterns and processes in
Information on current economic activities carried out in / on the local area. The Individual and economic activity.
Swilly e.g. aquaculture, marine tourism, transport, Citizenship.
Trade and Development issues. Global interdependence.
painting/photography. The Community.
Environmental awareness and The atmosphere-ocean
Practical demonstrations or interpretations of activities e.g. local care: The State – Ireland. environment.
fishing techniques and skills, fish farming and wild shellfish Ireland and the world.
harvesting, net making, and basic boat design for traditional and Environmental awareness and
modern boats. caring for the environment. Environmental &
Skills Development: Working Social Studies:
Detail on the different types of communities in Lough Swilly area,
the different stakeholders in the area, how this affects Lough Scientifically. Settlement/Resources
Swilly. E.g. conflict resolution between conservation and Designing and making.
commercial activity.
People in their
The bigger picture – how activities in Lough Swilly impact on the environment.
Ulster Coast and how global issues affect the Swilly: Discuss
The modern world.
climate change, global warming, coastal erosion, water catchment
management, EU Marine/Water/Habitat Directives, ICZM and MSP
on the Ulster Coastline.

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Marine Discovery Centre Lough Swilly : Implementation Plan_

Coastal Education Centre Relevance to Primary Syllabus Relevance to Secondary Syllabus


Suggested Display/Activity Strand & Strand Unit Junior Cert Leaving Cert
Using information and photo-records on local marine heritage and Local Studies: Games and pastimes History: History:
history from the Donegal Co. Co. archives and the local knowledge in the past; Feasts and festivals in How we find out Topics for study:
from the community the centre should: the past; Buildings, sites or ruins in about the past.
my locality and my locality through Early modern field of
Provide narratives of stories told about local people in the area by Studies of Change. study and/or late modern
local people (by head set or audio room) and have guest speakers the ages.
Understanding the field of study.
from the Historical Society. Story: Stories from the lives of
people in the past, myths and modern Ireland. Working with evidence:
Display and explain areas of archaeological significance in Lough
Swilly. legends. Research skills.
Explain through visuals and displays the historical evolution of Early People and Ancient
society, work and culture in the Swilly area over time including Societies: Stone & Bronze age
human exploitation of the area, their accommodation, transport and peoples, Romans, Celts, Vikings,
the history of power in the area e.g. when electricity was first Early Christian Ireland.
installed and how that effected the way people worked in the Life Society, work and culture in
fishing industry or the move away from traditional fishing to the past: Life in Norman Ireland,
commercial fish farming. Life in Medieval towns, the 18th and
Explain the significance of the Martello towers dotted along the 19th century in Ireland. Language
coast of the Swilly. and culture in the late 19th and early
20th century, Life during world war
Have 3D underwater fly-over maps of WWI shipwrecks. II, Life in Ireland since the 1950’s
Information should link to the Flight of the Earls Centre in Continuity and change over time:
Rathmullan and Fort Dunree British Naval Gun installation.
(Reciprocal sale of tickets should be encouraged at complementary Food and farming, Clothes, Homes
locations such as these to create a loop of activities in the Swilly and houses, Transport, Energy and
area and to encourage visitors to stay in the area longer). power.

Depict the way the Swilly is today and explore the challenges and Eras of change or conflict: The
changes it faces now and in the future. great famine,
World War I.

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Marine Discovery Centre Lough Swilly : Implementation Plan_

Coastal Education Centre Relevance to Primary Syllabus Relevance to Secondary Syllabus


Suggested Display/Activity Strand & Strand Unit Junior Cert Leaving Cert
Information on the ecosystem, biodiversity, plant animal and fish Living things: Plants and animals. Science: Biology: the study of
life found in the Lough. Environmental awareness and Biology e.g. Animals, life.
Test water samples from L. Swilly. care: Environmental awareness. plants and micro- The organism.
Demonstrate how to take kick samples from a river flowing into the Science and the environment. organisms.
Lough and identify the different species found and explain their Caring for the environment. Science: Organic Chemistry
significance. Chemistry e.g. air,
Skills Development: Working Environmental
Identify marine life and species found in the Swilly including larger scientifically. oxygen, carbon Chemistry: Water.
mammals (whales & dolphins) and sharks. Have demonstrations of dioxide and water.
fish dissection and a touch and feel pool for younger children. Designing and making.
Depict lifecycles of marine life found in the Swilly including
breathing, feeding patterns, reproduction, excretion e.g. Sally the
Salmon, Ollie the Oyster, Charlie the Crab, Dolly the Dolphin, etc.
Explain what is needed to sustain the ecosystem and outline
possible threats to habitats e.g. pollution and eutrophication,
recreational activities and chemical balance.
Explain the hydro-geomorphology of the area using 3D virtual
images and scenario building techniques.
Effects of light, sound and heat in water e.g. Energy and forces: Science: Physics:
• Difference between salt water and fresh water habitats; Light Sound Heat Forces. Physics e.g. force, Temperature, Heat,
light and sound. Waves, Vibration,
• The effects a rise in temperature can have on Salmon;
Sound, Light.
• The way light refracts in the water – through glass, fish seem
closer and bigger than they actually are!

There is no doubt that a high-quality educational experience can be developed at the Swilly Marine Discovery Centre. The alliance of relevant curriculum-based
displays and talks to boat tours with hands-on real-life experiences on Lough Swilly itself can be readily marketed to schools in the northwest if approached in a
professional manner. While displays, activities and interpretation should be of interest to school children of all ages it is important that they also be of interest to
the wider public and are developed carefully with this in mind. Visual examples of information are discussed further in section 5.4 below.

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Marine Discovery Centre Lough Swilly : Implementation Plan_

5.3. Market for Education

There are 178 first level schools in Co. Donegal with a further 60 in Derry. In general this represents a total of about 2,200 and
1,850 children respectively at each age level. We have assumed that between 12% and 20% of 9 year olds and 12 year olds in
both catchments could be attracted to the Swilly Centre for a curriculum-based one-day visit including boat tour, i.e. about
1,700 child visitors in year 1 rising to 2,900 by year 5 of operation.

There are 26 second level schools in Co. Donegal with a further 17 in Derry. In general this represents a total of about 2,000
and 2,200 children respectively at each age level. We have assumed that between 12% and 20% of 15 year olds and 17 year
olds in both catchments could be attracted to the Swilly Centre for a curriculum based one-day visit including boat tour, i.e.
about 1,700 child visitors in year 1 rising to 2,800 by year 5 of operation.

We have projected admission fees in line with similar centres elsewhere at €5 for the centre and €8 for the boat trip per child
(assuming no price increases over 5 years). While we are confident that these projections and charges are viable, the success of
the centre as an educational attraction will depend on high-quality management, innovative and imaginative displays,
relevance of available information to school curricula and the effectiveness with which the centre is marketed to schools. The
Gulf of Maine Research Institute in the USA runs a very successful schools programme attracting every school in the State of
Maine. GMRI has expressed an interest in working with the Swilly Centre and has already done considerable work with the
Loughs Agency and Northern Regional Fisheries Board on a schools-based educational programme called ‘Vital Signs’.

5.4. Description of Tourism Function

In addition to targeting schools the Marine Discovery Centre will also be a visitor attraction on the northern
coast of Ireland, educating visitors and generating awareness among the wider public on marine and coastal
issues through the use of latest technology and practical demonstrations. A programme of specialised
presentations, seminars and facilitated meetings should be developed with institutions and organisations such
as the National Fisheries College in Greencastle, the Marine Institute and the University of Ulster. These
would increase accessibility, understanding and awareness of the characteristics of coastal regions and the
threats they each face from human activity and climate change. This would encourage debate and promote
conflict resolution which can feed back into the Swilly Marine Spatial Planning process.

The Swilly Centre should be used to showcase the findings of IMCORE and other research being carried out at
local and national level. IMCORE will enable development of skills to deal with climate change including the development of simulation models. There may be,
for example, potential to see in advance what effects a sea level rise would have on the Swilly coastline. Significant research has already been undertaken at a
national level which relates to the EU Climate Change Action Plan including sea bed mapping, marine observations and data acquisition. Much of the data
gathered is highly informative / educational and lends itself to interesting visual display. The four maps below are examples of the type of research that is
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Marine Discovery Centre Lough Swilly : Implementation Plan_

underway including: second phase of the Joint Irish Bathymetric Survey (JIBS): multibeam mapping of the sea bed across the Ulster Coast which joins up with
INFOMAR and LiDar Mapping of the area (laser beams are bounced off the seafloor from vessels or aircraft to get an accurate map). For example, the
underwater Limeburner Rock off the Ulster Coast has been accurately mapped for the first time during the JIBS project (it rises to within a few meters of the
surface and is a popular diving site).

JIBs: Multibeam Mapping of Ulster Coast

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Marine Discovery Centre Lough Swilly : Implementation Plan_

Limeburner Rock off the Ulster Coast accurately mapped for first time during JIBs project.

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Marine Discovery Centre Lough Swilly : Implementation Plan_

Lough Swilly is one of the 26 priority areas due to have its sea bed mapped in the INFOMAR Survey (INtegrated mapping FOr the Sustainable management of
our MARine Resources – see LiDar map below). This exercise will produce maps illustrating the features of the sea bed from sand bars to canyons to cliff faces
etc. (see Galway Bay LiDar map on p.24 as an example)8 Sea bed classification maps also provide information on the types of sediment that can be found e.g.
sand and gravel which may be important for the construction industry or for habitats essential to the survival of our flora and fauna. This information can be used
for many different purposes including education of local people and visitors (e.g. maritime archaeology, diving sites, maritime heritage, resource management
and renewable energy).

LiDar Survey Priority Areas in Donegal including Lough Swilly.

8
http://www.marine.ie/home/services/surveys/seabed/JIBS.htm
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Marine Discovery Centre Lough Swilly : Implementation Plan_

The Seafloor of Galway Bay as revealed by LiDar Survey.

24
Marine Discovery Centre Lough Swilly : Implementation Plan_

The centre could also host a tour vessel similar to the Killary Harbour Catamaran or the Donegal Town Waterbus (see photos below left and right respectively),
which would allow visitors to directly experience the marine environment they have learned about in the centre while being entertained and informed by
knowledgeable local guides. This, for example, might include: visits to famous shipwreck sites such as the Laurentic with stories of lost gold bullion or to
modern day aquaculture installations to hear how mussels, oysters or salmon can be cultivated and grown for market; visits to historical sites such as the Fort
Dunree British Naval Gun Installation and the Rathmullan departure site for the Flight of the Earls in 1607; observation of interesting coastal cliff formations
such as Urris, Dunaff Head, Fanad Head including visits to bird colonies and storm beaches; observation of whales & dolphins at the mouth of the Swilly
possibly followed by a call to Portsalon Harbour for refreshments or a stroll on the extensive stocker strand. Lough Swilly is a large fjord of striking natural
beauty and readily lends itself to interesting itineraries. Because of the scale of the Sea Lough, it is proposed that boat trips would be varied based on the
educational themes depicted in the Visitor Centre, thus allowing people to choose a trip of particular interest to them.

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Marine Discovery Centre Lough Swilly : Implementation Plan_

5.5. Market for Tourism

The centre can fill a market gap as a much needed tourism attraction on the Inishowen peninsula with potential to attract 35,000 to 60,000 visitors per year.

There is a population of c.300,000 living within 60 miles of Buncrana. There


were c.450,000 visitors (overseas and domestic) to Co Donegal in 2007. We have
assumed that about 5% of these can be attracted to the Swilly Centre in the
medium term, i.e. c.40,000 visitors per year (excluding education based visits by
schools as per section 5.3 above).

In terms of competition for this business, a Marine Institute Study in 2006


identified 18 marine themed visitor centres in the Republic of Ireland9. The map
opposite, courtesy of the Marine Institute, shows that the distribution of these is
largely concentrated in areas outside the northwest. The only water themed centre
of note in Co. Donegal was listed as Bundoran Waterworld attracting 80,000
visitors, clearly demonstrating a market opportunity for a marine centre in the
county. The Marine Institute report went on to recommend the development of
two such visitor centres in Donegal. Competitors outside the county in 2006 were
drawing between 45,000 visitors (e.g. Mizen Vision Cork, Atlantiquaria Galway,
Lough Key Forest Park Roscommon, Hook Lighthouse Centre Wexford) and
100,000 visitors annually (e.g. Dunbrody Famine Ship Wexford, Splashworld
Waterford, Aquadome Tralee, Oceanworld Aquarium Dingle, Cliffs of Moher
Clare). In addition, figures for a number of visitor centres that may more closely
match the profile of the Swilly Centre suggest that the visitor numbers we are
projecting for Buncrana (35,000 growing to 60,000 by year 5) are sufficiently
prudent and conservative, e.g. Skelligs Experience Portmagee Co. Kerry 65,000 /
Blasket Heritage Centre Dunquin Co. Kerry 65,000 / Queenstown Story Heritage
Centre Cobh Co. Cork 61,000.

In relation to the proposed tour vessel, the Marine Institute report listed 84 small
tourism vessels in the Republic of Ireland of which 12 were located in Donegal.
Leaving aside ferries, only two vessels in Donegal can be described as large tour
vessels, i.e. the Donegal Town Waterbus on the Eske River and the Toucan One
tour boat on Lough Foyle.

9
Marine Institute. 2006. Water-based Tourism and Leisure Product Audit. Dublin.
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Marine Discovery Centre Lough Swilly : Implementation Plan_

Based on this research, we are confident that the proposed marine centre and tour vessel in Lough Swilly can attract sufficient market interest to justify the
financial projections we have set out (see appendix 1). It should be noted however that it will take time to build a market presence and that this will correlate
closely with the quality of the visitor experience and the level of promotion and marketing carried out. An example of successful visitor interpretation of the
coastal zone can be seen at Portrush in Co. Antrim where an old building (formerly a bathhouse) with a relatively modest low-cost display attracts about 60,000
paying visitors per year. Its success is linked to the high environmental profile of its owners, the NI Environment Agency.

The Coastal Zone Centre Portrush.

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Marine Discovery Centre Lough Swilly : Implementation Plan_

6. BUSINESS PLANNING AND IMPLEMENTATION

The proposal can be summarised as the provision of a 350 sq.m. visitor centre with information displays both physical and technological, all working in tandem
with a tour vessel. Based on the performance of similar centres elswhere, it is anticipated that the Buncrana facility can attract approximately 35,000 visitors in
year 1, building gradually to about 60,000 p.a. within 5 years. The centre will employ 5 full-time and 3 part-time staff. Full financial tables for 5 years are
appended which project that the facility including vessel will cost about €3.85million to provide and could be profitable by year 3. The basis for these projections
are discussed in the sub-sections below. In deriving this financial analysis, we have had access to both public and confidential information from the operators of
similar centres and tour vessels elsewhere. The business sensitivity analysis enclosed at the end of appendix 1 takes full account of this inormation.

It should be noted that these financial projections have been prepared by us as an alliance of development and scientific consultants whose main aim has been to
assess the feasibility and methodology of establishing a marine themed education & research centre. While we are confident that the financial projections
presented in this report are reasonable in that they are based on similar existing ventures, we do not hold ourselves out as financial consultants nor are we acting
as financial advisors to Donegal County Council or Buncrana Town Council. We suggest that these bodies may rely on the appended financial projections as
guidelines subject to taking independent accounting advice should they decide to pursue the project.

6.1. Cost Projections and Assumptions: Facilities, Building & Staffing

Build cost for the centre @ €1.5million has been based on design and quantity survey work done by Donegal County Council and the local Town Council for a
Sea Life Centre in Bundoran, scaled back to 350sq.metres. On a similar basis, fit out has been estimated @ €1.4million. Based on our recommendations in the
2006 feasibility report that Buncrana is the most suitable location, we have assumed that Buncrana Town council will provide a suitable site and will fund full
design of the centre, putting it forward for planning permission as done for the Bundoran Sea Life Centre. We have assumed a grant of 75% but it may be
possible to secure greater financial support.

We have looked at a number of tour vessels elsewhere. Based on information received from these operators we are confident that construction of a suitable
vessel can be commissioned or a second hand vessel purchased for €1million or less. Indeed, at this time there are a good number of used vessels in good
condition available on the UK market (comment from Irish Marine Federation).

We have consulted with the operators of the Waterbus at Donegal Town, with accountants employed by Bundoran Town Council (to prepare financial
projections for its proposed Sea Life Centre) and with the manager of the Dingle Oceanworld Aquarium in Co. Kerry. Based on these discussions, we have
projected that the Swilly Marine Centre will require a full-time manager to oversee the facility on a daily basis assisted by two full-time assistants and two part-
time assistants in reception / shop together with a qualified boat skipper assisted by one full-time and one part-time crewman to operate the tour vessel. The total
cost of staffing will be about €200,000 in year 1. Donegal and Buncrana Councils should work with the IMCORE Interreg project to fund a full-time marine
spatial planning officer to drive the research agenda and guide the education programme (it may be feasible for the MSP Officer to manage the centre).

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Marine Discovery Centre Lough Swilly : Implementation Plan_

6.2. Income Projections and Assumptions: Education and Tourism

We are projecting visits by about 24,000 adults, almost 8,000 children and about 2,000 families in year 1 giving a first year visitor total of about 36,000 visitors.
As outlined in section 5 of the report, this is a conservative figure relative to other attractions in the northwest.

In terms of breaking into the education market, prices have been set at €5 per student for access to the centre with a further charge of €8 to take the boat tour.
This compares favourably with fees currently being paid for school tours. Prices for boat tours are contained in the business sensitivity analysis at appendix 1.
No price increases have been assumed over the first five years.

Similarly, access prices to the centre for general summer visitors have been fixed for five years at €8 adults, €5 children and €25 for families. Again this is
competitive. Boat tours have been priced relative to the Foyle Cruise Line, the Donegal Bay Waterbus and the Connermara Princess (Killary Harbour). These
three vessels have 175, 165 and 135 passenger capacities respectively. The Donegal Bay Waterbus carried a total of 35,000 passengers in 2008 with the Foyle
vessel carrying c.18,000. We are projecting a maximum carrying capacity for the Lough Swilly tour vessel of about 23,000 passengers per year, based on
acquisition of a smaller 50 passenger vessel to cut down on purchase and running costs. This would allow the targeting of about 10,000 passengers in year 1
comprising circa 66% adults, 21% school children and 13% families. We feel we have erred on the side of caution in projecting this to grow to c.15,000
passengers by year 5. In normal circumstances, with good marketing and professional operation, there is little doubt that this could be increased based on
experience elsewhere – however the full effect of the global economic downturn on tourism numbers remains to be seen. Please see business sensitivity analysis
at appendix 1 for more detail.

6.3. Marketing Plan

We have projected a substantial and sustained marketing budget of approximately €75,000 per year over the first five years of operation. This is essential if the
target markets are to be reached and is fairly typical of the level of promotional spend by the better visitor centres in Ireland. Based on discussions with
experienced marketers, we have outlined a draft marketing plan at appendix 2.

6.4. Ownership, Grant Aid and Matching Funds

Our financial projections are based on an assumption that the centre can attract grant aid of at least 75%. Failure to do so would render the proposal unviable. It
may be possible to secure 100% funding under the environmental aspects of the Interreg programme given the focus of the centre on marine spatial planning and
climate change in line with the latest maritime policy analysis of the EU Commission. The fact that development of the centre is part of an existing Interreg
(IMCORE Project) initiative by local authorities and universities to develop MSP tools and techniques should add to the case for grant aid.

The centre will not be suited to private ownership as this would reduce the eligibility for grant assistance, seriously undermining the commercial feasibility of the
proposal. Therefore, the most feasible development scenario is under public sector ownership and management. Our financial projections have assumed this to
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Marine Discovery Centre Lough Swilly : Implementation Plan_

be the case and we suggest that a site should be provided by Buncrana Town Council adjacent to the sea either in the town or at the harbour (see 2006 feasibilty
report). Our figures also assume that the local authority will provide €500,000 in start-up funding to match a similar amount borrowed by the Centre, thereby
providing the necessary match funding. We do not envisage any breach of State Aid Rules in providing this matching finance as investment in the centre by the
local authority will not displace private investment. The local authority may be able to recover its initial investment from the centre after five years or so.

6.5. Key Decisions and Actions to Develop Swilly Centre

We have examined the model used by Bundoran Town Council to develop its proposal for a Sea Life Centre. The Council there provided one of its own sites in a
prime tourism location, funded design of the building, employed a consultant to design and cost the interior display and fit-out, had the full build cost assessed
by a quantity surveyor, consulted with Donegal County Council and the local community about planning issues and eventually granted the facility full planning
permission. While we are not at liberty to disclose the cost of all of this, we consider the sum paid to represent good value for money. The Buncrana Centre
holds an advantage over the Bundoran proposal in that it will be significantly less expensive to build. We consider that the following steps should be taken by
Buncrana Town Council, should it decide to pursue the project.

• Project Manager
The importance of this appointment has been outlined at length in section 4 of this report. An opportunity exists for Buncrana Town Council to work with the
IMCORE Interreg project on climate change and marine spatial planning. As the IMCORE project manager position is funded @ 50% for three years, we
recommended that Buncrana Town Council should provide matching funding in return for project managing the development of the Swilly Centre.

• Site
As happened in Bundoran, we recommend that Buncrana Town Council should consider provision of a suitable site for the centre.

• Design / Planning Permission


We recommend that Buncrana TC should consult with Bundoran TC and Donegal County Council to identify suitable architects to design the Swilly Centre, to
consult with the local community and to submit plans for statutory permissions (may require a foreshore licence in addition to planning permission).

• Vessel Commission
As stated earlier, the Irish Marine Federation considers that suitable second-hand vessels are available on the market. However, it may not be possible to secure
grant aid on a second-hand boat, thereby requiring design and commissioning of a custom built vessel. This is a specialist undertaking requiring the involvement
of a marine surveyor from the outset. Again, it would be distinctly advantageous to have this driven by a dedicated project manager. The Manager should
explore the possibility of attracting a private operator with an existing vessel to provide the boat touring aspect of the visitor and schools attraction.

30
Marine Discovery Centre Lough Swilly : Implementation Plan_

• Operator
Once the centre has been designed and fully costed, the market should be tested for interest from private undertakers with experience in managing similar
centres. Expressions of interest through a public tender process would enable the Town Council to make an informed decision on whether to manage the facility
itself or through the appointment of a management company.

• Centre Name
Finally, it will be important to choose a suitable name for the centre: one that takes account of the need to stand out in a crowded tourism market and at the same
time resonate with research bodies, schools and users of the Lough as a centre that makes a real input to marine / coastal education and management. If a title
such as “Coastal Research & Education Centre Lough Swilly” is used it runs the risk that many visitors will not realise it is a tourism centre. While a consensus
needs to be reached within the Town Council / local community, we suggest that the working title used in this report “Marine Discovery Centre Lough Swilly”
be used for the implementation phase. A title of this type suggests tourism, education and research functions and this, or a name along these lines, should be
acceptable to local stakeholders and visitors.

********************************************

Enclosures

Appendix 1 (Financial Projections)

Appendix 2 (Marketing Plan).

31
APPENDIX 1

MARINE DISCOVERY CENTRE LOUGH SWILLY

PROJECTED ACCOUNTS AND CASH FLOW STATEMENT

FOR THE FIRST FIVE YEARS.

Contents:
1. Balance Sheets
2. Income & Expenditure Accounts
3. Cashflows
4. Schedule of Visitor Numbers and Receipts
5. Schedule of Staff and Related Costs
6. VAT Reconciliation
7. Creditors' Reconciliation
8. Business Sensitivity Analysis
9. Notes on Financial Assumptions.
Marine Discovery Centre Lough Swilly : Implementation Plan_
MARINE DISCOVERY CENTRE LOUGH SWILLY

PROJECTED BALANCE SHEETS FOR THE FIRST FIVE YEARS.

Op. Posit. Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5


€ € € € € €
Sch.
FIXED ASSETS
Land (local authority) 0 0 0 0 0 0
Buildings 1,500,000 1,500,000 1,500,000 1,500,000 1,500,000 1,500,000
Fixtures & Fittings 1,400,000 1,400,000 1,400,000 1,400,000 1,400,000 1,400,000
Boat 900,000 900,000 900,000 900,000 900,000 900,000
Flora and fauna 50,000 50,000 50,000 50,000 50,000 50,000
3,850,000 3,850,000 3,850,000 3,850,000 3,850,000 3,850,000
Less: Depreciation 0 235,000 470,000 705,000 940,000 1,175,000
3,850,000 3,615,000 3,380,000 3,145,000 2,910,000 2,675,000

LONG TERM LIABILITIES


Bank Loan 500,000 500,000 500,000 500,000 500,000 500,000
3,350,000 3,115,000 2,880,000 2,645,000 2,410,000 2,175,000

CURREN T ASSETS
Stocks 37,500 37,500 37,500 37,500 37,500 37,500
Bank 0 51,410 134,136 304,687 556,634 893,498
37,500 88,910 171,636 342,187 594,134 930,998

CURREN T LIABILIT IES


Creditors 0 54,620 55,873 60,275 61,402 62,524
Bank Overdraft
0 54,620 55,873 60,275 61,402 62,524
WORKING CAPITAL 37,500 34,290 115,763 281,912 532,732 868,474
NET ASSETS 3,387,500 3,149,290 2,995,763 2,926,912 2,942,732 3,043,474

FINAN CED BY:


Local Authority or
Private Investment 500,000 500,000 500,000 500,000 500,000 500,000
Revenue Reserve 0 -61,960 -39,237 68,162 260,232 537,224
500,000 438,040 460,763 568,162 760,232 1,037,224
Development Grants 2,887,500 2,711,250 2,535,000 2,358,750 2,182,500 2,006,250
3,387,500 3,149,290 2,995,763 2,926,912 2,942,732 3,043,474
Marine Discovery Centre Lough Swilly : Implementation Plan_

MARINE DISCOVERY CENTRE LOUGH SWILLY


PROJECTED INCOME & EXPENDITURE ACCOU NTS
FOR THE FIRST FIVE YEARS.

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5


€ € € € €
Sch.
INCOME
Gate Receipts a. 350,760 409,220 467,680 526,140 584,850
Boat Receipts b. 180,425 200,472 220,519 240,567 260,614
Shop Gross Profit c. 37,804 44,104 50,405 56,706 63,017
Total Income 568,989 653,797 738,604 823,412 908,480

EXPEND ITURE
Wages d. 196,309 196,309 196,309 196,309 196,309
Staff Pension Costs 5,889 5,889 5,889 5,889 5,889
Light, Heat & Power 25,000 25,000 25,000 25,000 25,000
Insurance 20,000 20,000 20,000 20,000 20,000
Site Maintenance 1,500 1,500 1,500 1,500 1,500
Bank Charges 2,500 2,625 2,757 2,893 3,040
Loan repayment 100,000 100,000 100,000 100,000 100,000
Loan Interest 20,000 20,000 20,000 20,000 20,000
Upkeep exhibits and computer graphics 50,000 50,000 50,000 50,000 50,000
Maintenance and fuel boat 15,000 15,000 15,000 15,000 15,000
Printing, Stationery & Postage 2,700 2,700 2,700 2,700 2,700
Motor Leasing 4,800 4,800 4,800 4,800 4,800
Audit& Accountancy 13,000 13,000 13,000 13,000 13,000
Marketing 75,000 75,000 75,000 75,000 75,000
Repairs & Maintenance 7,000 7,000 7,000 7,000 7,000
Telephone, Fax & Internet 2,500 2,500 2,500 2,500 2,500
Cleaning 5,000 5,000 5,000 5,000 5,000
Motor & Travel Expenses 5,500 5,500 5,500 5,500 5,500
Rates 13,500 13,500 13,500 13,500 13,500
Miscl 7,000 7,000 7,000 7,000 7,000
Grant Amortisation -176,250 -176,250 -176,250 -176,250 -176,250
Depreciation 235,000 235,000 235,000 235,000 235,000
Total Expenditure 630,949 631,074 631,206 631,342 631,489
Net Income -61,960 22,723 107,399 192,071 276,992
Taxation 0 0 0 0 0
-61,960 22,723 107,399 192,071 276,992
Opening Revenue Reserves 0 -61,960 -39,237 68,162 260,232
Closing Revenue Reserves -61,960 -39,237 68,162 260,232 537,224
Marine Discovery Centre Lough Swilly : Implementation Plan_

MARINE DISCOVERY CENTRE LOUGH SWILLY

PROJECTED CASHFLOW STATEMENT


FOR THE FIRST FIVE YEARS.

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5


€ € € € €
RECEIPTS
Gate Receipts (Net) 350,760 409,220 467,680 526,140 584,850
Boat Receipts (Net) 180,425 200,472 220,519 240,567 260,614
Shop Receipts (Net) 75,607 88,209 100,810 113,411 126,033
VAT on Gate Receipts 73,660 85,936 98,213 110,489 122,819
VAT on Boat Receipts 37,889 42,099 46,309 50,519 54,729
VAT on Shop R eceipts 15,878 18,524 21,170 23,816 26,467
734,219 844,460 954,701 1,064,943 1,175,511

PAYMENTS
Creditors 244,750 293,448 301,072 308,696 316,330
Wages 196,309 196,309 196,309 196,309 196,309
Staff Pensions 3% 5,889 5,889 5,889 5,889 5,889
VAT 66,861 96,962 111,623 132,708 150,579
Power Light & Heat 25,000 25,000 25,000 25,000 25,000
Insurance 20,000 20,000 20,000 20,000 20,000
Site Maintenance 1,500 1,500 1,500 1,500 1,500
Loan Repayments 120,000 120,000 120,000 120,000 120,000
Bank Charges 2,500 2,625 2,757 2,893 3,040
682,809 761,734 784,150 812,995 838,647
Opening Balance 0 51,410 134,136 304,687 556,634
Surplus/(Deficit) 51,410 82,726 170,551 251,948 336,864
Closing Balance 51,410 134,136 304,687 556,634 893,498
Marine Discovery Centre Lough Swilly : Implementation Plan_

MARINE DISCOVERY CENTRE LOUGH SWILLY

SCHEDULES a to c

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5


€ € € € €
PROJECTED VISITOR NUMBERS

Adult 23,970 27,965 31,960 35,955 39,950


Children 7,830 9,135 10,440 11,745 13,050
Family (avg. 4 persons) 4,794 5,593 6,392 7,191 8,000
36,594 42,693 48,792 54,891 61,000

Total Visitor No's 36,594 42,693 48,792 54,891 61,000

Schedule a.
PROJECTED GATE RECEIPTS
Adm Fee (ex VAT)
Yr 1 Yr 2-3 Yr 4-5
Adult 8.00 8.00 8.00 191,760 223,720 255,680 287,640 319,600
Child 5.00 5.00 5.00 39,150 45,675 52,200 58,725 65,250
Family 25.00 25.00 25.00 119,850 139,825 159,800 179,775 200,000
Net Income 350,760 409,220 467,680 526,140 584,850
VAT Content @ 21% 73,660 85,936 98,213 110,489 122,819

Schedule b.
PROJECTED BOAT INCOME

Yr 1 Yr 2-3 Yr 4-5
Adult 15.00 15.00 15.00 101,693 112,992 124,291 135,590 146,889
Child 8.00 8.00 8.00 17,717 19,685 21,654 23,622 25,591
Family 45.00 45.00 45.00 61,016 67,795 74,575 81,354 88,134
Net Income 180,425 200,472 220,519 240,567 260,614
VAT Content @ 21% 37,889 42,099 46,309 50,519 54,729

Schedule c.
PROJECTED SHOP INCOME

Total No. of Visitors 36,594 42,693 48,792 54,891 61,000


Shop Visitors @ 50% 18,297 21,347 24,396 27,446 30,500

Spend @ €5.00 each 91,485 106,733 121,980 137,228 152,500


Net Sales 75,607 88,209 100,810 113,411 126,033
VAT Content @ 21% 15,878 18,524 21,170 23,816 26,467

Gross Profit (VAT excl) @ 50% 37,804 44,104 50,405 56,706 63,017
Marine Discovery Centre Lough Swilly : Implementation Plan_

MARINE DISCOVERY CENTRE LOUGH SWILLY


SCHEDULE d

Schedule d. Gross Em ployers Total


Salary P.R.S.I.
€ € €
Wages Senior & Managerial Staff:

1 Manager 40,000 4,800 44,800


1 Assistant Manager 30,000 2,550 32,550
1 Full time Shop / Reception 25,000 2,125 27,125
1 Boat Skipper 30,000 2,550 32,550
1 Maintenance and Crew Assistant 25,000 2,125 27,125

Wages Part Time Staff

1 Boat Crew Assistant 9,880 840 10,720


2 Shop / Reception Assistants 19,760 1,680 21,440
- - -
179,640 16,669 196,309
Marine Discovery Centre Lough Swilly : Implementation Plan_

MARINE DISCOVERY CENTRE LOUGH SWILLY


VAT RECONCILIATION

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5


€ € € € €
VAT RECONCILIATION

Purchases subject to VAT


Upkeep exhibits and computer graphics 50,000 50,000 50,000 50,000 50,000
Maintenance and fuel boat 15,000 15,000 15,000 15,000 15,000
Printing, Stationery & Postage 2,700 2,700 2,700 2,700 2,700
Motor Leasing 4,800 4,800 4,800 4,800 4,800
Audit& Accountancy 13,000 13,000 13,000 13,000 13,000
Marketing 75,000 75,000 75,000 75,000 75,000
Repairs & Maintenance 7,000 7,000 7,000 7,000 7,000
Telephone, Fax & Internet 2,500 2,500 2,500 2,500 2,500
Cleaning 3,500 3,500 3,500 3,500 3,500
173,500 173,500 173,500 173,500 173,500
VAT @ 21% 36,435 36,435 36,435 36,435 36,435

Power Light & Heat 25,000 25,000 25,000 25,000 25,000


VAT @ 13.5% 3,375 3,375 3,375 3,375 3,375

Telephone & Fax 2,500 2,500 2,500 2,500 2,500


VAT @ 21% 525 525 525 525 525

Total VAT Collected 127,426 146,559 165,692 184,825 204,014


Total VAT Paid 40,335 40,335 40,335 40,335 40,335
Total VAT on Shop Purchases 7,939 9,262 10,585 11,908 13,233
Total VAT Liability 79,153 96,962 114,772 132,582 150,446
plus: Opening Liability - 12,292 12,292 15,441 15,315
less: Closing Liability 12,292 12,292 15,441 15,315 15,182
Net VAT Paid 66,861 96,962 111,623 132,708 150,579
Marine Discovery Centre Lough Swilly : Implementation Plan_

MARINE DISCOVERY CENTRE LOUGH SWILLY

CR EDITORS RECONCILIATION

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5


€ € € € €
CREDITORS PAID
Upkeep exhibits and computer graphics 50,000 50,000 50,000 50,000 50,000
Maintenance and fuel boat 15,000 15,000 15,000 15,000 15,000
Printing, Stationery & Postage 2,700 2,700 2,700 2,700 2,700
Motor Leasing 4,800 4,800 4,800 4,800 4,800
Audit& Accountancy 13,000 13,000 13,000 13,000 13,000
Marketing 75,000 75,000 75,000 75,000 75,000
Repairs & Maintenance 7,000 7,000 7,000 7,000 7,000
Telephone, Fax & Internet 2,500 2,500 2,500 2,500 2,500
Cleaning 5,000 5,000 5,000 5,000 5,000
Shop Purchases 37,804 44,104 50,405 56,706 63,017
212,804 219,104 225,405 231,706 238,017
VAT @ 21% 44,689 46,012 47,335 48,658 49,983
257,493 265,116 272,740 280,364 288,000
less: Credit 60 D ays 42,328 43,581 44,834 46,087 47,342
215,165 221,535 227,906 234,277 240,658
Rates 13,500 13,500 13,500 13,500 13,500
Motor & Travel Expenses 5,500 5,500 5,500 5,500 5,500
Sundries 10,585 10,585 10,585 10,585 10,585
Creditors b/f - 42,328 43,581 44,834 46,087
Total Paid 244,750 293,448 301,072 308,696 316,330
Marine Discovery Centre Lough Swilly : Implementation Plan_

MARINE DISCOVERY CENTRE LOUGH SWILLY

NOTES AND ASSUMPTIONS ON PROJECTIONS

1 Capital Expenditure including professional fees and based on detailed costings amounts to
€3,850,000

2 Borrowings are projected at €500,000


repayable over 5 years at an interest rate of 4%.

3 Light, heat & power, wages and all other expenses are based on existing running expenses
in similar visitor centres and given the current economic climate are projected to
remain at this level over the period of the projections.

4 Ticket prices are projected to remain constant for five years.


Pr ices compare favourably with similar ventures elsewhere, as set out in the sensitivty report.

5 A grant @ 75% is assumed against building and fit out, boat, flora and fauna.

7 The effects of taxation are ignored as Capital Allowances may be available on the new
development. The developer will need to pursue this with Irish Revenue.

9 Depreciation is charged as follows:

Buildings over 50 years


Boat over 15 years
Fixture & Fittings over 10 years
Flora and fauna over 10 years

10 These financial projections have been prepared by an alliance of development


and
scientific consultants whose main aim has been to assess the feasibility of
establishing a marine themed education & research centre. While we are
confident
that the financial projections presented in this report are reasonable we do not
hold
our selves out to be financial experts nor are we acting as financial advisors to
Donegal County Council or Buncrana Town Council. We advise these bodies to
take independent accounting advice should they decide to pursue the project.
APPENDIX 2: Marketing Plan
__________________________________________
Marine Discovery Centre Lough Swilly
__________________

Target Audiences

TRADE

1 Fáilte Ireland
2 Regional Tourism Offices
3 Independent Tourist Organisations
4 Major tourism industry companies, including airlines, ferries, Bus Éireann, tour operators and car hire
companies.
5 The local and North West tourist industry
6 Schools: teaching staff and principals
7 Media

CONSUMER

1 General Public
2 Local Population
3 Special interest groups
4 Tourists in the region

The above are targeted under the following main headings

1 Tourism / Fáilte Ireland Publications and Marketing Events


2 Regional Tourism Publications and Marketing Events
3 Promotional material
4 General Tourist Publications
5 Tourism information display units
6 Educational Publications
7 Co-operative marketing
8 PR
9 Internet
10 Miscellaneous

Registration with Fáilte Ireland North West, benefits of which include:


Marketing spend by North West Tourism body
Representation at 35 consumer promotions
Representation at 4 Fáilte Ireland workshops in Ireland and Britain
100’s marketing / promotional media opportunities.

Promotional Material

Brochures & Flyers


A total of 150,000 brochures, 3,000 Posters, 2,000 leaflet and booking forms for schools will be printed for
distribution and use in all Centre Marketing campaigns
APPENDIX 2: Marketing Plan
__________________________________________

Brochures will be distributed to all tourist outlets (including B&Bs, Hotels etc) in the North West Tourism
catchment area as well as to other counties in the North West and Northern Ireland.

General Tourist Publications

Be Our Guest
A book which has Hotels, B&Bs and Guest Houses advertised for the consumer to choose where they will stay.
This book covers the whole of Ireland.

Choice Hotel Ireland


Publication in all rooms in Choice Hotels in Ireland.

Touring Ireland Magazine


Publication promoting Ireland and Donegal as a destination for tourists.

Tourist Information Display Units


In local tourism officers in Donegal and Derry.

Educational Publications

Education Magazine
A publication for teachers supplying information on all aspects of education including school tours. It is
circulated free of charge to schools and colleges in the Republic and Northern Ireland.

Kingswood School Tours Directory


This is distributed free of charge to all primary, secondary and third level schools nationwide.

Direct Mailing
Promotional book sent to schools in Ulster area including an introductory letter outlining school tour packages.

Mail shots to special interest groups


Such as Universities, Regional Colleges of Further and Higher Education, Fáilte Ireland etc

Miscellaneous

Golden Pages
Special listing under Aquariums / Viistor and Heritage attractions in national and local directory.

Local Donegal Advertising


The Centre will advertise on local radio especially before Easter, June Bank Holiday, Christmas and during low
season to let people know it is open all year round.
APPENDIX 2: Marketing Plan
__________________________________________

Local Newspaper
Local newspaper ads will be used throughout the year e.g. School Tours feature, Christmas feature etc.

Local Radio Stations (including Outside Broadcasting Units)

A great marketing tool for Official Opening of the new Centre.

Signage
Signage will need to be erected on all major routes into Buncrana. Signs will need to be erected around
Buncrana town giving directions to centre.

Television
Television advertising is expensive therefore it is better to run competitions as these may be done free. This can
be done by contacting other activities and accommodation sectors in Buncrana and Inishowen, e.g. a prize could
consist of free family pass to the centre, accommodation in local hotel, dinner in local restaurant

Hotel Channel Viewing


In house entertainment for accommodation providers - 10 minute dvd of centre run in hotel or Guest House
rooms.

Internet
Develop an interactive fun-based educational web site. This site will need to be updated frequently (news and
events). This should also include an online ticket booking service for school tours.

PR
Create a local and National media list.
Have many press releases throughout the year to include new displays, wacky fish, tour schedules, schools
programmes, competitions, etc.. This will also create photo opportunities for the press. Create good working
relationships with the press, radio stations and national news tv stations.

Marketing Plan for Centre


in conjunction with Inishowen Tourism Providers

Introduction
There is obvious merit in working with complementary tourism activity and promoters in the area. Some ideas
on what can be achieved are set out below. The overall objective is to develop economies of scale in reaching
the market while also making it easy for visitors to plan their holiday activities.

Outputs
In order to market the facilities effectively we would suggest the following methods:

• Joint Brochure
Produce a joint print promotional piece for major facilities. This brochure would give equal space to each
facility involved, profiling their attractions. The brochure would complement the existing Inishowen guides. It
would be planned that this joint brochure could be inserted into the main Inishowen or Fáilte Ireland guides.
APPENDIX 2: Marketing Plan
__________________________________________
• Brochure Distribution
The joint brochure should be distributed via tourist offices nationwide using a brochure distribution company.
Inishowen Tourism probably already uses the services of a Brochure Broker for this activity. Such a
distribution exercise ensures effective nationwide coverage.

• Joint Advertising
Local facilities of good quality should advertise in newspapers, magazines and brochures in both Ireland and the
UK. Ideally this would involve an advert of a decent size profiling local facilities together with supporting
editorial feature complete with approved images. Publications used to advertise should include Irish, Northern
Irish, Scottish and Northern English newspapers. Magazines would include tourist guides and school tours
journals. Sharing the costs of advertising increases the media buying power and therefore means greater
coverage including editorial.

• School Tours & Group Market


Using the joint brochure local facilities would undertake mailings to school groups and other organisations such
as Scouts groups. This would firstly inform recipients about local visitor facilities and secondly encourage them
to organise day trips and/or school tours to Buncrana . Obviously the mailing would highlight group rates and
discounts by way of an incentive for tour organisers to choose Buncrana / Inishowen as their destination.

• Joint Ticketing
Local facilities should work together in developing a joint admission system. This would offer discounts
meaning visitors (particularly group bookings) would only have to make one transaction. Such a system could
offer substantial discounts in off-peak times.

• Website Marketing
Donegal Tourism currently profiles the county via the Donegal Direct website. This website features activities,
attractions, accommodation, entertainment, events, eating out and so forth. The plan would be to add the Swilly
Centre to this and develop a link to the centre’s own website. Reciprocal links could be made with other relevant
websites of good quality.

• Promotions
Inishowen Tourism and Donegal Tourism co-ordinate the marketing of the county with Fáilte Ireland and
Tourism Ireland at holiday fairs and shows. In order to promote the Swilly Centre effectively at such events it
will be necessary to develop a dedicated promotional stand with trained personnel.

• Information Points
Local Inishowen tourism facilities have information points installed around venues on the peninsula which carry
literature regarding visitor attractions and facilities. The Swilly Centre should get involved in this on a
reciprocal basis. This type of cross-selling will encourage visitors to visit more attractions.

Swilly Marine Discovery Centre – Suggested Annual Marketing Budget

Brochures – DL folded to A4 - €3,500

Posters – 3,750 - €750

Free Family Pass – 5,000 - €800

Admit one – 1,000 - €250

Comment Card – 5,000 - €250

School Tours – Mail shot to all schools in Donegal and surrounding areas - €800
APPENDIX 2: Marketing Plan
__________________________________________

Newspapers - Local
Full colour page of text and images - €3,000
Weekly PR 4 week countdown to opening - €750
PR throughout the year x 6 - €1,400

Newspaper – National
Full colour page of text and images - €2,000
Other newspaper advertising throughout the year - €2,000

Radio – Pr on local and national radio throughout the year - €12,500


Ocean FM, Highland and others

Website – Set up and design of new website for the centre - €8,000

Brochure distribution -
Companies which distribute brochures throughout Donegal, Derry, Sligo & neighbouring counties - €5,500

Fáilte Ireland North West Tourism – Membership - €300

Photographer – Pictures of new centre for PR - €3,500

Logos / flags on Centre vehicles and tour boat - €1,500

Kingswood Publishing - School Tours magazine - €400

Education Magazine – School tours promotion magazine x 2 - €700

Golden Pages – PR in 07/09/ bordering Northern Ireland counties - €3,000

Signage – New signage for centre to be erected around Buncrana and neighbouring areas - €3,000

Hotel channel Viewing – 5 Hotels in Inishowen / Derry / Letterkenny - €4,000

Launch – Finger Food x 50 - €2,000


PR for launch - €2,000
Letters & Invitation - €500
Wine - €400

Shopping Centre Promotions in Letterkenny and Derry - €1,000

INTO Stand at congress - €1,500

Holiday World Ireland stand in RDS Dublin - €2,500

Consultancy –Marketing - €8,000

TOTAL MARKETING SPEND ANNUALLY: circa €75,000.

************************************************