Tiny town to double in size for €800k event
One town has tapped into sport tourism to net an estimated €800,000 in revenue. Clifden in Co Galway has been home to the Tour de Connemara for the past five years.
A total of 4,000 visitors, including 2,000 cyclists, are expected over May 23 and 24 - doubling the town's population. Cycling has experienced a surge in popularity. Membership of Cycling Ireland is up from 7,000 to 23,000 in the last five years.
Director of W2 Consulting and fellow organiser of the European Sport Tourism Summit, Mark O'Connell, says putting on other attractions is key to its success. "It's turned into a weekend where the cyclists will bring family and friends and they'll stay for an average of two nights, not just in Clifden but in the wider Connemara area and Galway," Mr O'Connell said.
"Cyclists from 14 different countries are taking part... so it has quite a reach overseas as well. The market is saying there is a huge demand for cycling events. The Tour de Conamara and the Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle are sold out and the Tour de Burren will sell out, as it did last year," he said. The success of the Wild Atlantic Way has also been a key driver.