Consultants have been appointed to carry out a strategic review of the tourist firm that operates Bunratty Castle and six other attractions in the Shannon region.
Shannon Airport group plc has appointed Treacy Consulting to examine the workings of Shannon Heritage.
Former Irish Hotels’ Federation (IHF) president Michael Vaughan yesterday said he was “delighted” consultants had been appointed.
He said the firm has capable management “but its development has been hamstrung by its balance sheet and there have been missed investment opportunities”. He said he hoped the review “will allow Shannon Heritage to become a much more dynamic company”.
Tourism expert Jim Deegan at the University of Limerick said that “Shannon Heritage has been performing pretty well, but there is scope for improvement on some entities”.
The review follows Shannon Heritage coming under the umbrella of Shannon airport, having previously formed part of the defunct Shannon Development.
Tourism attractions operated by Shannon Heritage last year enjoyed their best year since 2007, when the subsidiary recorded a 12% rise in tourism numbers.
Already, Shannon Heritage’s attractions welcome around 380,000 visitors annually, including 85,000 at its medieval banquets and traditional Irish nights at its three castles and folk park.
Other attractions include the recently revamped €5.6m King John’s Castle in Limerick, Knappogue Castle and Walled Garden, and Malahide Castle and Gardens in Dublin.
A Shannon Group spokesperson said: “The strategic review under way will examine how we can maximise on the upswing in tourism and achieve further growth going forward with what is a unique collection of tourist attractions popular with both domestic and international markets.
“This review will also look at how commercial synergies can be achieved with other elements of the newly formed Shannon Group, which operates Shannon Commercial Properties Ltd, and will ultimately create a roadmap that ensures its considerable potential is further developed.”
In peak season, Shannon Heritage employs 260. In the contract, the consultants are to assess the attractiveness of all sites and activities from the perspective of trade, consumers, and market influencers.
The output of the review process will provide a strategic roadmap for the Heritage Group as an overall entity, in addition to identifying the preferred strategic direction for each property within the current portfolio.
The review, which is set to take eight weeks to complete, will also identify new commercial opportunities.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved