DESPITE a stormy December, visitor numbers at the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience in County Clare were up 10% during 2013.
960,134 people visited the world famous tourist attraction last year compared to 873,988 during the previous year. It is the third successive increase in visitor numbers to the Cliffs of Moher with year-on-year increases of 12% and 8% being achieved during 2011 and 2012 respectively.
Management at the Cliffs of Moher say growth in the group travel market, good weather conditions during July and The Gathering Ireland initiative helped to deliver the increase.
Fully Independent Travellers (FITs), mainly travelling by car, made up 49% of the total representing a 4% increase compared to 2012. Groups, mainly travelling by coach, made up 46% of the total and this segment grew by 14.6% over 2012. Walkers, cyclists and those travelling by public transport made up the remainder representing a 17.6% increase over 2012.
“This is the highest number of visitors since records were first kept exceeding (by 2%) the previous high point of 2007 which saw 940,455 visitors,” explained Katherine Webster, Director, Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience.
“Information on visitor demographics is still being analysed but indications are that the North American and continental European markets, especially Germany, performed very strongly. The domestic Irish market was also strong. Improved air access especially to Shannon Airport, the fine summer and the wide range of Gathering events especially in County Clare all contributed to these visitor numbers as did the opening of the €400,000 Cliffs of Moher Coastal Walk, a 12km route providing improved public access to some of County Clare’s most scenic coastal locations,” she explained.
Meanwhile, Ms. Webster confirmed that a major upgrade of the award-winning Cliffs Exhibition will take place during 2014.
“We are currently going through the tender assessment process with a view to starting work immediately once the contract is awarded. The upgrade will see exciting new content in the exhibition. We are also doing work on the coach park area to add further capacity and improve the facilities offered to our group tour customers.
“2014 is the year of Brian Boru and the Cliffs of Moher links to the influential O’Brien clan will see us play a part in the celebration of this giant of a figure in Clare and Irish history. We are looking forward to continuing to raise the bar in offering a world class experience to our visitors from near and far,” concluded Ms. Webster.