A visitor to Cork's Fota Wildlife Park got more than she expected when she made the trip to the popular attraction.
Catherine Cullinane from Tuam, Co. Galway walked through the gates as the park's 10 millionth visitor and bagged a trip of a lifetime in the process.
Ms Cullinane scooped the prize of a safari holiday for two to South Africa as the park's search for the milestone guest came to an end.
Sean McKeown, Director of Fota Wildlife Park said today: “We are delighted to welcome Catherine Cullinane as the 10 millionth visitor here and present her with this magnificent prize of a safari trip to South Africa.
We really felt that it was important to mark this occasion as it not only represents a milestone for Fota and also for the region.
Every year, 465,000 people visit the park located on 100 acres at Fota Island 10km east of Cork City.
"As one of the biggest tourist attractions in the area, we know from the B&A surveys we regularly conduct that our visitors pay out on average €430 per holiday and contribute €190m annually into the region on spends that include accommodation, dining and transport." Mr McKeown said.
"We also feel that it is very important to continually develop the Wildlife Park and during 2019 alone we have spent €900,000 on capital projects such as the Madagascan Village on Palm Walk, and a new playground near the Oasis Cafe.
“We are a conservation charity and we feel very strongly about giving something back to the visitors, without whom it would be impossible to continue our work in education, research and conservation," he said.
Sadhbh O’Connor from Midleton Co Cork won the runner-up prize of a two night stay in a self-catering lodge for a family of four at the five-star Fota Island Resort, as well as VIP passes.
Marie Pratt from Newcastle in Galway City and Dimitar Bonekov from Ballyvolane, Cork City also won prizes. Fota Wildlife Park also gave Conservation Annual Passes to ten runners up.