A JOINT strategy between Laois and Offaly and other agencies is needed to exploit the tourist potential of the Slieve Blooms.
So say Laois County Council in its draft County Development Plan. County hall sais the EU's project on Eco Tourism provides an excellent framework to build on the blooms potential.
The council says a multi-agency task force has been established to coordinate marketing and development in the Slieve Blooms area
County hall says enhancement of the towns and villages in the wider Slieve Blooms area would add to the region.
"A co-ordinated strategy between all of the stakeholders including Laois and Offaly local authorities, Shannon Development Company and Filte Ireland is required to expedite this process," it says.
The council says an initial product audit carried out on the Slieve Blooms by the Task Group identified a high proportion of unapproved accommodation providers within the area- specifically in the villages around the Slieve Blooms.
The council believes the mountains are a distinctive element of the landscape and contain the source of the River Barrow. It says existing amenity areas, walking routes and car parks are in place and plans are in place to create an off road cycling network and related facilities.
A policy statement for the Slieve Blooms was drawn up in co-operation with Offaly County Council as far back as 1995.