The call comes in an open letter on behalf of the Bandon Chamber of Commerce & Bandon Co-Marketing Group, Bantry Business Association, Rosscarbery Business Association, Skibbereen & District Chamber of Commerce, and Clonakilty Chamber of Commerce, which represent approximately 450 businesses.
The group welcomed the recent addition of new routes to Cardiff, Dusseldorf, and London City, and assurances in a recent Irish national aviation policy document, but warned that “now is not the time for complacency”.
“More needs to be done to ensure Cork Airport serves and contributes to the economic requirements of West Cork and the wider Cork/south-west region,” the letter read.
The associations called for a strategy to increase the volume of inbound visitors and tourists from an expanded number of destinations and allow local businesses to connect with overseas markets while encouraging foreign business to the area.
“The contribution of tourism to West Cork’s economic prosperity and sustainability cannot be stressed enough,” the groups wrote. “We need more visitors and therefore it is critical that the marketing of Cork, West Cork, and the region, is increased significantly to attract new routes and more importantly, to ensure that these routes are sustainable.”
Meanwhile, Cork Airport was highly commended at the World Routes Marketing Awards in Durban, South Africa, on Monday. Cork Airport was nominated in the “under 4m” passenger category, along with Shannon Halifax (Canada), Lodz (Poland), and Verona (Italy).
“This is great news for everyone who has worked hard to market the airport and the Munster region to airlines in an effort to secure new routes to our schedule of 50 direct services,” said Cork Airport managing director Niall MacCarthy.
“We have had some good successes this year with the addition of Cardiff with Flybe and London City with CityJet. Attracting new airlines to the region is one of our key objectives and we believe that there are fantastic opportunities to develop our relationship with both airlines into the future.”