A €2m initiative has been launched in an effort to boost tourism across the midlands region.

'Ireland's Hidden Heartlands' is the latest such brand to be launched by Fáilte Ireland following the success of the 'Wild Atlantic Way' and 'Ireland's Ancient East'.

The 'Heartlands' promotion covers parts of all four provinces of the country, with Leitrim, Roscommon, east Galway, east Clare, north Tipperary, Offaly, Westmeath, Longford and Cavan all included.

The River Shannon will be marketed as a key component of the brand, with Fáilte Ireland saying they are to work with Waterways Ireland to encourage tourism both on and off the river, and in towns surrounding it.

A range of other outdoor pursuits will also be promoted, including walking, cycling and boating routes, as well as fishing and other activities.

Fáilte Ireland's CEO Paul Kelly said the initiative has "been developed after months of extensive market testing both here and overseas.

"The overwhelming feedback is that visitors from key markets want the opportunity to explore Ireland's natural gems and rural communities," he said.

"There is also a huge appetite out there for tourists to be active in nature through activities like walking, cycling, angling and boating routes - all of which the Midlands can offer in abundance."

The tourist body's Director of Commercial Development, Paul Keeley, added that the scheme has the potential to transform the local and regional tourist industry, which is traditionally weaker than coastal counterparts.

The body said that further funding will follow the initial €2m allocation.

"Revenue and tourism potential for Ireland is from international visitors and county boundaries and things like that don't mean anything to them," said Mr Kelly.

"What this is really about is the experience that they have. And we drew our lines on our map about where these brands would be placed in terms of what would be best for the businesses in those areas.

So this is really about our tourism brands serving the businesses to drive economic and social benefit," added Mr Kelly.