Tourism firm to end 4 years of losses

The tourism firm that operates a host of high-profile tourist attractions, including Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, expects to break even this year after four years of combined losses totalling almost €700,000.

Accounts filed by the tourism subsidiary of Shannon Development, Shannon Heritage, show that losses at the firm narrowed significantly, from €176,987 to €24,578, in the 12 months to the end of December last.

Losses at Shannon Castle Banquets and Heritage Ltd between 2008 and 2011 total €695,862.

Abridged figures show that the firm’s gross profit last year increased from €6.5m to €6.7m.

Chief executive John Ruddle said: “Shannon Heritage should break even in 2012 which is a very good result given the last four years of very difficult trading. We are very satisfied with a solid result in very difficult circumstances.”

Mr Ruddle said: “2012 figures are up 3.5% in visitor numbers against 2011. Banquets are up 2% and day visitors up 3.7%.”

The figures show that visitor numbers to the firm’s most popular tourist attraction, Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, last year increased from 263,336 to 275,986.

Mr Ruddle said turnover is also up on 2011 “and the company has continued its very strong cost minimisation strategy and careful management through a very volatile period”.

Shannon Heritage also operates St John’s Castle in Limerick and a complete revamp of the visitor experience is expected to open to visitors in early 2013.

The directors’ report states that “the domestic tourism position is still very weak and will take a number of years to recover ground”.

On future developments, the directors’ report states that “the company is continuing to add to the wide range of activities held at all of its sites.

“Due to the worldwide economic downturn, all opportunities are being explored to create new business opportunities.”


Lifestyle

FOR many of us, health insurance is high on the list of financial products which that we tend to avoid changing out of fear and confusion.Money and Cents: cover all the bases for best health insurance

Anya Taylor-Joy plays the titular Emma in the latest adaptation of Jane Austen’s romantic comedy about the spoilt, meddling matchmaker who means well, says Laura HardingAnya Taylor-Joy: ‘Emma is my little monster’

Setting sail to travel the world as part of your job has a romance all of its own but for marketing manager Máire Cronin and engineer Mark Crowe it led to love.Wedding of the Week: Cruise ship co-workers Máire and Mark sail off into sunset

One of the genres that has seen exponential growth in the podcast world is the sleepcast. Open Spotify on your phone in the evening and a number of offerings are available, writes Eoghan O'SullivanThe Podcast Corner: podcasts that will put you to sleep

More From The Irish Examiner