The Cliffs of Moher Experience is hosting a new PhD Scholarship program sponsored by the University of Limerick (UL) and Clare County Council.

The Cliffs of Moher Experience, Ireland's most visited national attraction, has joined with UL’s National Centre For Tourism Policy Studies (NCTPS) and The Kemmy Business School to welcome sponsored PhD student Ernesto Sanchez as part of the tourism research project he will undertake over the next four years.

The structured program will focus challenges and opportunities of responding to a paradigm shift in the tourism marketplace, including visitor experience, sustainable tourism, destination and visitor management and the role of technology in shaping tourism.

“This program represents an excellent opportunity to collaborate with the University of Limerick in generating important research that will help to define and shape the future of tourism in Clare,” commented Geraldine Enright, Director of the Cliffs of Moher Experience.

She added, “In addition to providing Ernesto a monetary sum to support his academic studies and research, the scholarship will present him with a unique opportunity to develop key relationships with other visitor attraction sites and tourism businesses within the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark and the wider county.”

Jim Deegan, Professor of Tourism Policy and Director of the National Centre for Tourism Policy Studies, commented, “Work undertaken by our Research Centre is constantly evolving to reflect new academic interests, market trends and policy problems. The leading market position held by the Cliffs of Moher Experience makes it an ideal case study for present and future tourism development in Ireland.”

Leonard Cleary, Director of Rural Development, Clare County Council, stated, “We are delighted to support Ernesto in his studies through this PhD Scholarship Program. Tourism is emerging from a challenging period, and it is important that new challenges and opportunities for the sector are identified.

"The research output will aid ongoing efforts to maintain the Cliffs of Moher as Ireland’s foremost natural attraction, grow the Cliffs of Moher’s contribution to County Clare in a sustainable way and protect the site for future generations.”

It is anticipated that the PhD sponsorship program will become part of an ongoing strategic partnership between Clare County Council and the University of Limerick.