WHILE figures for visitors to Skibbereen’s tourist office were strong this year, there are fears that the lack of reference to the office in Wild Atlantic Way literature, combined with Brexit, may be having an impact.
Over 7,500 visitors called into the Skibbereen Tourist Office this year, which is staffed by two part-timers and a host of volunteers.
The office is run by Skibbereen Chamber of Commerce, with a subvention from Fáilte Ireland.
In total, 7,538 visitors dropped in and this was an increase of over 4% on visitors during the same comparable period in 2015.
But the Chamber is not happy with the lack of a mention for the office in the most recent official literature for the Wild Atlantic Way.
‘The Chamber and businesses in the town have been disappointed that the Wild Atlantic Way literature produced this year did not include the Skibbereen Tourist Office on the promotional material. There is concern that this, together with the poor quality of the map identifying Skibbereen, will have a negative impact on tourism in the town and surrounding area,’ a statement from the Chamber said.
‘Early indicators hinted that this was having some impact and there were concerns earlier in the season as numbers declined over some weeks in the busier months, suggesting that … tourists have indeed bypassed the town, making the incorrect assumption that there was no information available to them.’
The Skibbereen office would have expected an increase in figures in theses weeks in line with national figures produced, it said, adding that luckily numbers later in August and September were much stronger than 2015.
The office opened for the 2016 season for two weekends in March, St Patrick’s weekend and the following Easter weekend. The local business community felt it was important to have the office open, particularly in light of the 1916 centenary commemorations which were taking place in the town over both weekends and which saw the office cater for over 100 during these weekends which compares extremely favourably when reviewing weekend figures for May also.