New report claims close to 50,000 visitors to Wetlands
ALMOST 50,000 people have visited the Tralee Bay Wetlands Centre since it opened in March 2012, according to a report presented by management of the centre at Tralee Town Council's monthly meeting on Monday night.
Wetlands Manager Joanie McAulliffe said that since the centre opened to the public, 49,376 people have visited the attraction with the vast majority coming from Ireland and almost three quarters of visitors subsequently returning to the centre for a repeat visit.
She added that while the centre is "very much in its infancy", visitors numbers were high and the number of visitors had remained stable in 2012 and 2013.
Interest from schools has been strong with steady business from school tours since the centre opened and an increased effort underway to attract more tours from both primary and second level schools across Ireland.
While business thus far has been good, Ms McAullife said that the centre faced a number of challenges as its business is seasonal and weather dependent and "as yet" it is not widely known among foreign visitors.
It is also hoped that the installation of a climbing wall, which is expected to be in place by July, will provide a further boost to visitor numbers.
Tralee Bay Wetlands Centre Ecologist and Deputy Manager David McCormick said that predators, primarily foxes and mink, had also proved to be a problem and significant work had been carried out to improve fences and lay traps in order to protect wildlife on the wetlands.