herald

Monday 21 January 2019

Calls to regulate city walking tours

WALKING tours of the capital are blocking footpaths and stopping elderly pedestrians and people with prams walking by, a city councillor has complained.

Independent Cllr Mannix Flynn is seeking the introduction of an official code of conduct for tour guides to manage crowd congestion on paths.

"The problem is those who are running the tours, they tend to commandeer the footpaths and it's almost impossible for elderly people or people with prams to get by," said Mr Flynn.

"There seems to be no regard whatsoever for anyone trying to use the footpaths, it's becoming almost impossible for the everyday person to get around," he said.

He called for guidelines in particularly busy areas, such as Grafton Street and George's Street, and Mr Flynn said a rule book would advise people to be mindful of other users and keep group numbers limited.

Hotspots for the tours include Trinity College and Temple Bar, as well as landmarks like Leinster House on Kildare Street.

Mr Flynn, who conceded that smaller walking tours in the city generally don't cause any obstruction, said he wants walking tours to become licensed operations.

"The general disregard for other users is wrong. You have to manage the public domain for everybody, I think some of the tours are far too big, our footpaths are contested spaces.

"A public domain guideline document needs to be either created or issued along with a licence or permit for those conducting the tours," said Mr Flynn, who pointed out that organised tours would generate even more tourism and interest in Dublin.

His stance received support from at least one tour operator.

Lorcan Collins, who has been at the helm of 1916 Rebellion Walking Tour for 18 years, welcomed Mr Flynn's motion.

BIZARRE

"These days, it seems anyone can set up a walking tour with zero training and checking so it's about time some sort of license came in," Mr Collins said.

"I've come across lots of other walking tours where the tourists are being told the most outlandish and bizarre information like we dye the River Liffey green for St Patrick's Day, it's appalling," he added.

Mr Collins said the introduction of guidelines, similar to the licensed system that operates in London, would be a positive move for tourism and all road and path users.

"We need proper authentication and rules for tour guides to make sure we give a quality guide to tourists from full time experts who know their city inside out," he said.

"It's a city for everyone and you have to be conscious that you're not impinging on anyone going about their daily business," Mr Collins added.

hnews@herald.ie

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