The Irish Tourism Industry Confederation has said there is an urgent need for innovation if the decline in tourism in the west of Ireland is to be reversed.

The Confederation estimates a 37% fall-off in demand for tourism in the west of Ireland between 1999 and 2010, using the amount of bed nights booked as its yardstick.

In a new report called New Direction For Tourism In The West, the confederation says that, from Donegal to Cork, the hospitality industry needs to create more distinctive reasons to visit.

The report points to the need to highlight the range of adventure and activity holidays on offer and greater promotion of the appeals of local heritage, local food, and the range of festivals and sporting events.

It says the organisation of the industry currently involves upwards of 30 public and private sector organisations and needs greater co-ordination and reform to eliminate duplication and deliver greater efficiency from scarce resources.

The ITIC wants to boost participation in environmental schemes the Blue Flag and Tidy Towns awards and launch a new best tourism destination award.