independent

Wednesday 22 May 2019

Knock airport vital for region, study reveals

Members of the region’s Local Authority delegation pictured during their visit to Ireland West Airport Knock with Airport Managing Director Joe Gilmore, and Board Chairman Arthur French. Included from left, Leitrim Co Council Director of Services Joseph Gilhooly, Roscommon Co Council CEO Eugene Cummins, Sligo Co Council CEO Ciarán Hayes, Cllr Paul Taylor, Mayo Co Council CEO and airport board member Peter Hynes, Galway Co Council CEO Kevin Kelly, Leas Cathaoirleach Roscommon Cllr Kathleen Shanagher, Galway City Council CEO Brendan McGrath and Donegal Head of Tourism Barney McLaughlin. Pic: Henry Wills
Members of the region’s Local Authority delegation pictured during their visit to Ireland West Airport Knock with Airport Managing Director Joe Gilmore, and Board Chairman Arthur French. Included from left, Leitrim Co Council Director of Services Joseph Gilhooly, Roscommon Co Council CEO Eugene Cummins, Sligo Co Council CEO Ciarán Hayes, Cllr Paul Taylor, Mayo Co Council CEO and airport board member Peter Hynes, Galway Co Council CEO Kevin Kelly, Leas Cathaoirleach Roscommon Cllr Kathleen Shanagher, Galway City Council CEO Brendan McGrath and Donegal Head of Tourism Barney McLaughlin. Pic: Henry Wills

New research has highlighted the critically important role Ireland West Airport plays in delivering visitors to Sligo.

According to the study, 1 in 3 overseas visitors using Knock airport come to Sligo during their stay.

It also discovered 43% of overseas visitors who come to Sligo are holidaymakers.

The research also found that overseas visitors spend an average of 6 nights in Sligo when visiting the region.

The study carried out by Red C Research, established the behaviour of incoming tourists to the region and the benefits that the airport brings to the counties within the catchment region. In order to achieve these research aims, RED C interviewers interviewed departing passengers from Ireland West Airport between the months of May and September 2018. All passengers were overseas visitors who had travelled to the West of Ireland on services into Ireland West Airport.

The research findings reinforced the airport's position as a critically important economic driver for the region and in particular for county Sligo. when visiting the region

Hiking and cross country walking were the most popular activities that people engaged in while visiting Sligo, with the Wild Atlantic Way and Benbulben highlighted as two of the key attractions for visitors coming to Sligo. Visitors estimated they spent on average €586 during their stay in the region.

In July 2016 investment was approved by seven local authorities to invest €7.3m in the airport for a 17.5% shareholding. Last week a delegation from each of the seven local authorities visited the airport for an update on progress and developments since 2016. Ciarán Hayes, CEO of Sligo Co Council, said Knock airport said the entire region is benefitting from the airport's growth.

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