ONE-third of all visitors to the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience in the past year stayed at least one night in the county, according to new figures.
More than 1,660 people completed online surveys for the attraction in the 12 months from August 2014 to August 2015 and these figures show that 33.2% of visitors indicated they had spent either the night before their Cliffs visit, the night after or both nights, in County Clare.
“This indicates a minimum of 536,174 overnights in the county, not taking into account those staying longer than two nights. In 2014, incentive pricing for group tours arriving before 11am or after 4pm was introduced, which further encourages an overnight stay locally,” Ger Dollard, director of services, Clare County Council, stated.
The local authority, which owns the centre, reledased the new figures. Mr Dollard stated that while the average spend in the county per visitor to the Cliffs is not known, “by any measure the economic impact of the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience on County Clare is significant”.
The attraction welcomed its one-millionth visitor of 2015 at the beginning of last week and according to Katherine Webster, director of the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience, 45% of those coming to the centre arrive by coach.
Mr Dollard cited a study commissioned by the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark last year and undertaken by independent consultants, that coach tours to the park, the majority of which were visiting the Cliffs of Moher, “brought at least €6.9 million in tourism income to the Geopark area alone, including €2.5 million in lunches”.
The Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience online surveys show that 58% of the 1,662 respondents reported visiting other attractions in County Clare, as well as the Cliffs.
“There is also significant additional economic impact from retail, pub and entertainment spend, as well as spend with transport providers whether visitors stay overnight or make a day visit,” Mr Dollard said.
“During summer 2015, there were 124 people directly employed at the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience between Cliffs of Moher Centre staff and the various tenant companies onsite. This does not include indirect spin-off employment by local suppliers and contractors, who are extensively used by the centre.
“Many County Clare food producers are specifically featured in the café offerings and are a regular part of the Cliffs Café menu,” he added.
“We are satisfied that through direct and indirect impacts that the Cliffs makes a major contribution to the Clare economy,” Mr Dollard stated.