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This is the first time that we have come together to present a ‘unified voice for West Cork Business’ and this should be viewed as a barometer of the strength of feeling and collective positivity that exists in relation to establishing Cork Airport as a driver for economic success in our region now and into the future.
Whilst we welcome the indication outlined in the recent Irish National Aviation policy document that the airport’s future is secure until 2019 and also that new routes have recently been added (London City, Cardiff and Dusseldorf) we feel strongly 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.
We believe Cork Airport must have in place a clear strategy that will:
a) increase the volume of inbound visitors and tourists from an expanded number of destinations.
b) allow indigenous businesses to connect more easily with overseas markets as well as encouraging inward investment from foreign businesses looking to set up, employ local people and trade in this part of Ireland.
This thinking represents the collective views of business associations and Chambers of Commerce and Tourism across West Cork who represent the interests of approximately 450 businesses, ranging in size from sole traders to organisations employing hundreds of people and generating millions of euro in trade.
The contribution of tourism to West Cork’s economic prosperity and sustainability cannot be stressed enough.
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.
We would ask that all state and commercial bodies involved in the promotion of our region look at increasing their commitment and investment into this vital contributor to our region’s future.
The business community and general population are looking for assurances that there is a clear and visible plan for Cork Airport that will deliver more and more visitors over time, as ultimately this will contribute to the growth of local businesses, which in turn encourages local business people to invest, create local employment (especially for young people as opposed to having to relocate/emigrate) and allows families from the area and further afield to base themselves here.
We appreciate it is a ‘two-way street’ and we, the local population and businesses, must ensure that our ‘tourism product’ is consistently first class to encourage visits, repeat visits and positive ‘word of mouth’ within target markets.
We also undertake to support Cork Airport in whatever way possible, most notably through the use of different routes for business and pleasure.
Our understanding is that Cork Airport management and the DAA are indicating a return to growth in passenger numbers in 2016 (more than two million) and we welcome this forecast.
However, it is imperative that this growth occurs but any growth must be both significant and sustainable to ensure the long-term viability of Cork Airport and its essential contribution to West Cork.
On behalf of:
Bandon Chamber of Commerce & Bandon Co-Marketing Group (representing c70 business members)
Bantry Business Association (representing 102 business members)
Rosscarbery Business Association (representing c40 business members)
Skibbereen & District Chamber of Commerce (representing c87 business members)
Clonakilty Chamber of Commerce (representing c130 business members)
Dunmanway Chamber of Commerce (representing c21 business members)
West Cork Chambers of Commerce and Business Associations (representing c.450 businesses in total)
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