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Changing face of tourism

The industry locally has had to adapt to keep going


Dermot, Stevie, Sinead and Caitriona Mooney inside Red Bus at the Ox Mountain Adventure Camp. Pics: Carl Brennan

Dermot, Stevie, Sinead and Caitriona Mooney inside Red Bus at the Ox Mountain Adventure Camp. Pics: Carl Brennan

Dermot, Stevie, Sinead and Caitriona Mooney inside Red Bus at the Ox Mountain Adventure Camp. Pics: Carl Brennan


The global COVID-19 pandemic has forced change upon businesses across the world.

The tourism industry has taken a massive hit, with virtually no visitors travelling anywhere for a number of months.

The Irish government still recommend against non-essential overseas travel, meaning that the tourism industry here has had to turn its attention to attracting domestic tourists.

For some businesses, this is not ideal. But for some, it has given them a chance to focus on domestic tourism.

For Dermot Mooney of Ox Mountain Adventure Camp at Masshill, things are looking up.

"We're very happy with how the next few months are looking for us," he told The Sligo Champion.

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"We're pretty much all booked up until September. It's all domestic tourists that we have staying, people are travelling from all over Ireland."

The Ox Mountain Adventure Camp sits in, as the name suggests, the Ox Mountains. It's largely self catering, with a treehouse, log cabin, a bus that has been converted for people to stay in, and accommodation for tents.

All of their bookings and enquiries coming in are from tourists based in Ireland, which is a change, but the Mooney family are pleased with this.

"I'd say about 90% of our visitors normally are from overseas. We would usually have people coming from as far away as Spain, Italy, America. This year it's all people living in Ireland and they are taking short breaks. And we're OK with that."

In terms of changes they have had to make to comply with guidelines for accommodation providers, Dermot says there is less interaction with guests. But they are continuing to take care with regards to thoroughly cleaning each area of accommodation before new guests arrive.

"We're doing exactly what we were doing before. Each unit is cleaned thoroughly after each visit anyway. There's not much more that we can do.

"There's no shaking hands, that's gone. There's no reason for people to see us at the minute so that's OK. People don't have to meet us."

This year, the adventure camp opened a semi-open bus which has been converted into comfortable accommodation. It's been a big hit so far.

With Irish tourists looking for somewhere different to stay, you can see why bookings are filling up fast for Dermot and his family.

"We're close to Lough Easkey, Mass Rock, the Wild Atlantic Way and Enniscrone is on the doorstep.

"It's nice to see local people staying too. We've had families from only down the road staying with us, we have some rabbits and hens and children love that.

"One of our biggest things is that we have no internet, no WiFi. We don't promote mobile coverage, that seems to work because people have to get back to basics and play cards or go for walks."

With business looking up for the rest of the year, Dermot ends on a positive note.

"We have bookings now starting to come in for short breaks in October. Other years winter would be quiet. I think we are all in for a good year."