A major new tourism initiative was officially announced today.

Fáilte Ireland said the Wild Atlantic Way has the potential to significantly increase visitor numbers to counties along the western seaboard.

The 2,500km route, which runs from the Inishowen Peninsula in Co Donegal to Kinsale in Co Cork, will be marketed at home and abroad in the coming months.

The initial focus is on making people aware of the route and highlighting "discovery points" along the way.

One of the first elements to be completed will be the erection of almost 4,000 road signs along the coastline, at a cost of €3 million.

Today's event coincides with a major advertising campaign in the key overseas markets of Britain, France, Germany and the US.

The route passes through a total of nine counties.

Fáilte Ireland said the branding of defined touring routes will increase the number of domestic and international visitors.

A total of €10m is being invested in the initiative this year.

Minister of State for Tourism Michael Ring said the project has significant potential and should deliver revenue and jobs to rural communities.

He described it as "a significant engine of regeneration for rural Ireland".