Fáilte Ireland has launched a €150m investment programme aimed at developing large-scale visitor attractions around the country. 

The scheme, which is the largest in the tourism body's history, is designed to fund projects that will draw in large numbers of visitors to an area.

It will initially be focused on the development of interactive, cultural attractions and will see Fáilte Ireland make a minimum investment of €2.5m in each approved project.

"We want something that will have a transformative impact on the community of the area in which it's based," said Paul Kelly, CEO of Fáilte Ireland, citing the likes of the Titanic Quarter in Belfast and the Cliffs of Moher visitor experience as examples.

"These are the type of large-scale, immersive, cultural and heritage attractions that are so attractive to international visitors," he said.

However potential recipients of the funding will need to show that they are building on a gap in the market - and that there is sufficient interest amongst would-be tourists.

The key is that the attractions create new activity, rather than simply moving existing tourists from one part of the country to another.

Fáilte Ireland will also want to see strong indications that the project will be financially viable - and that the Exchequer will ultimately recoup the initial investment through the activity generated by its operations.

It is also open to projects in any part of the country, however Mr Kelly says it will seek to fund projects that have the biggest relative impact.

That means that a project based in an area with relatively low levels of tourism will tend to stand a better chance than a similar project based in the likes of Dublin.

"How we'll measure these projects is on the incremental impact the will have," he said. "That means that, in less developed areas, projects will have a bigger incremental impact on those areas. The scheme is open to everywhere in the country - it's not geographically limited - but we will be putting those criteria on it."

Fáilte Ireland is seeking interested parties to put forward proposals over the coming seven weeks. The scheme is arranged so that a relatively simple pitch can be made at first, with more detail only required if Fáilte Ireland believes there is potential for investment.

The tourism body says it is willing to fund up to 75% of the total cost of approved developments, though it will require those putting forward the plan to make up the remainder of the cost.