Ploughing contest to cultivate €40m cash bonanza
THE National Ploughing Championships is expected to give its host county a cash injection of close to €40m this week.
Close to 200,000 people are expected to attend the three-day event, which opens tomorrow in Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co Laois.
The National Ploughing Association (NPA) – which organises the event – said that visitors to the event spent almost €36.5m in 2011, according to a UCD study.
Only one in five of those who attend are local, with the rest coming from further afield throughout Ireland, most of them repeat visitors who come every year.
Visitors to Europe's biggest farm show spend around €9.5m on food, including 60,000 cups of tea and coffee each day, and another €9.6m on trade purchases, ranging from toys to tractors.
Though most visitors travel there and back in a day, thousands of visitors, exhibitors and voluntary stewards stay for the duration.
Hotels in the county appeared to be fully booked, with booking sites such as hotels.com directing visitors to neighbouring counties Kilkenny, Kildare and Carlow for accommodation.