US cities a target for Cork tourism

Tourism chiefs will aggressively market the Cork and wider region to American and Canadian cities in order to capitalise on the first transatlantic flights this summer.

Cork Airport and tourism chiefs will also pursue German and Swiss tourists, as it emerged from a Fáilte Ireland survey that there is a drop in optimism for 2017 from the tourism industry because of Brexit and other factors.

Icelandic carrier Wow Air will fly from Cork to Boston, Los Angeles, Miami, Montreal, New York City, San Francisco, Toronto, and Washington DC this summer via Reykjavik, and an aggressive social media and local radio campaign in those areas will attempt to lure North American visitors to visit Ireland.

Norwegian Air International is set to fly from Cork Airport to New Hampshire’s Portsmouth International Airport and TF Green Airport in Rhode Island.

Even though they are both 100km away from traditional Irish-American tourism strongholds of Boston and New York, businesses relying on tourism in Cork are confident that they can entice visitors from that new market.

Tourism industry sentiment, which has been on the rise for the last few years, may now be plateauing as concerns about Brexit take hold, according to Fáilte Ireland’s latest Tourism Barometer Survey.

Only 76% of tourism businesses remain optimistic for 2017.

That’s down from the 80% who said they were optimistic a year ago. Fáilte Ireland said business sentiment across the tourism sector remains buoyant but optimism was tempered by caution for 2017, fuelled mainly by Brexit.

Four in five accommodation providers along the Wild Atlantic Way say that the brand will be positive for them in 2017.

The newer Ireland’s Ancient East brand is also expected to have a positive impact for 57% of operators in the region it covers.

Managing director of Cork Airport Niall MacCarthy said that Brexit would be a challenge, but it meant opportunities in the US, Canada, Germany, and Switzerland.

“We are already engaged with Tourism Ireland North America and we will see active social media and radio campaigns looking to entice tourists to Cork from these areas,” he told the Irish Examiner.

“There is evidence that although bookings from Britain remain the same, there is a 20% drop in discretionary spending.

“We will keep our focus on Britain but also the American, Canadian, German, and Swiss markets.”


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