A golden opportunity awaits for East and South Cork tourism providers as visitors from North America and mainland Europe increase.
That is according to Kevin Cullinane of Cork Airport, who was speaking ahead of a tourism seminar by the Ring of Cork tourism body next month.
Latest CSO figures show overseas visitors to Ireland for the first 10 months of the year grew by more than 3%.
Tourism Ireland chief executive Niall Gibbons said the 250,000 additional visitor number was enhanced by “exceptional results from North America”, with an increase of more than 14% on January to October in 2016.
There was also an almost 15% growth in visitor numbers from Australia and developing markets, and more than 4% from mainland Europe.
“Increases in direct air access, plus our market diversification strategy, have been key factors,” Mr Gibbons added.
Cork’s position between the Wild Atlantic Way and the Ancient East meant the region’s tourism providers had to be ready to capitalise, Mr Cullinane said.
“It is not just the North American market that is now opened with the Norwegian US flights, but also the Swiss and Spanish market because of new routes.
Four out of 10 people who use Cork Airport are coming in rather than going out. We’re spoiled with the offering we have and the location we are in, so it is up to us to maximise the new opportunities,” he added.