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Clare tourism to benefit as Shannon’s services grow

CLARE is set to reap the benefits from Shannon Airport’s enhanced 2014 summer season schedule, with research on passenger destinations from last year illustrating the airport’s influence on visitor numbers to the county.

Shannon Airport has nine new services this year on European destinations – Ryanair with Munich, Paris, Faro, Warsaw, Krakow, Nice, Poitiers, Berlin, Fuerteventura and Aer Lingus Regional with Bristol – alone, many with very strong markets for inbound tourism.

Critically also, following the growth of transatlantic services last year, US frequencies have also dramatically increased this year, bringing greater numbers again of US tourists, who on average spend 60% more than any others, into Clare.

The last two weeks alone saw the resumption of United Airline’s Chicago service (daily from June), which on the back of its success last summer will have 88% additional capacity this year.  The past fortnight also saw Delta Airlines back with its daily JFK New York service, US Airways return with its daily Philadelphia flights and Air Transat begin its weekly Toronto service.

This is on top of the significant commitment by Aer Lingus on transatlantic this year, which has seen it almost double capacity, with daily Boston and six-times weekly New York flights.  A big plus here also is that these services are year round for the first time since 2009.

All of these, in addition to the nine new European/UK routes, will deliver a significant boost for tourism in Co. Clare, which is one of the most frequently visited counties by Shannon passengers according to research of passenger trends through the airport from last year.

The research shows that 47% of US passengers into Shannon last year visited Clare, amounting to over 53,000 passengers.  Clare was also the destination for 32% of UK passengers, which amounts to almost 60,000 visitors to the Banner County, with 22% of European passengers also spending time in the county.

Visitor to Clare through Shannon are set to increase significantly this year thanks to the new routes and network enhancements across a total of 16 services.   The June Bank Holiday weekend just gone illustrated the bounce as passenger numbers were up by 18% over the weekend compared to last year.

Said Shannon’s Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Murphy, “Last year’s success was very much about transatlantic services and our research shows just how much Clare benefitted.  Transatlantic passenger numbers will be up again this year, as will European and UK thanks to all our new services and there will be a significant bounce for Clare from this.

“The great thing about this year’s schedule is that it is very positive for inbound and outbound options. We are providing our biggest range of services in many years at Shannon for people looking for holiday or short-break options and this is good news for Clare and our wider catchment.”

The research also shows the importance of Shannon’s transatlantic services to accommodation providers, with 54% of all passengers staying in hotels, 10% in B&Bs, 7% in self-catering, 6% with others, while 37% were returning diaspora who stayed with friends and relatives.

Not surprisingly, 67% of US visitors said that ‘sightseeing’ was the reason why they were visiting, with the research also showing that 51% were over 50 years.

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