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Tuesday 22 October 2019

President's visit delivers massive bookings boost for tourism in Doonbeg

US President Donald Trump plays a round of golf at Trump International in Doonbeg, Co Clare. Photos: Mark Condren
US President Donald Trump plays a round of golf at Trump International in Doonbeg, Co Clare. Photos: Mark Condren

Ralph Riegel

Doonbeg and its luxury golf resort is already reaping the tourism whirlwind thanks to the three-day visit of US President Donald Trump.

Bookings have soared by up to 30pc across local guesthouses, pubs and restaurants, as well as the golf resort itself since the west Clare facility made global headlines last week by providing the European base for Mr Trump and his D-Day visit to France.

Locals expect the multi-­million-euro business boost to surge by an even greater amount over the next 12 months.

Doonbeg sources revealed that inquiries to the golf resort are now running at more than double the level of 2016 - while bookings are conservatively up by more than 30pc.

More than half the booking inquiries are understood to be from US tour groups and businesses, many for proposed 2020 holidays.

There has also been a spin-off benefit for the village with pubs, restaurants and guesthouses confirming surging business since the presidential visit.

Many US holidaymakers have now added an excursion to Doonbeg from the nearby Cliffs of Moher as a consequence of Mr Trump's visit.

Igoe Inn owner Caroline Kennedy said it had been an amazing few weeks for Doonbeg.

"It was absolutely a once-in-a-lifetime experience and it's great publicity for the village," she said.

"The golf club brings in restaurants and supports other businesses and it has a huge knock-on effect in the town."

Tubridy's Pub owner Tommy Tubridy said the Trump brothers, Donald Junior and Eric, who visited all the village pubs last week, could not have been nicer.

"They're very down-to-earth people and they got a fantastic reception. It has been great few days for the area," he said.

It spells yet more good news for Doonbeg Resort, which had already flagged that it expected a strong return to operating profits in 2019.

The resort has expanded its workforce from 200 to more than 220 - with a €1.4m investment in the golf course and the hotel/spa helping to further boost booking levels.

Doonbeg National School said an increase in local pupil numbers and families moving to the area was directly linked to the success of the golf resort under the Trump family.

Mr Trump added the Doonbeg Resort to his family's property portfolio in 2014 for a reported fee of less than €10m.

It proved a very shrewd investment as Doonbeg was last year valued at around €40m.

The facility recorded a loss of €2m in 2016 - but last year had slashed that loss to €330,000 thanks to a 15pc hike in revenues and increased bookings.

Doonbeg's owner, Trump International Hotel and Golf Links, has predicted substantially increased turnover for its 2018 financial year.

Irish Independent

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