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The Kate and William effect: visit to bring royal boom for businesses

Footfall soared at venues after Meghan and Harry's visit

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Kate Middleton holds a snake as she visits the Ark Open Farm at Newtownards in Co Down yesterday. Photo: Chris Jackson/Pool via REUTERS

Kate Middleton holds a snake as she visits the Ark Open Farm at Newtownards in Co Down yesterday. Photo: Chris Jackson/Pool via REUTERS

REUTERS

The Duchess of Cambridge helps a child feeding a lamb as she visits the Ark Open Farm, Newtownards. Photo: Chris Jackson/Pool via REUTERS

The Duchess of Cambridge helps a child feeding a lamb as she visits the Ark Open Farm, Newtownards. Photo: Chris Jackson/Pool via REUTERS

REUTERS

A Duke and Duchess of Sussex during a visit to Croke Park, on day two of their visit to Dublin, Ireland

A Duke and Duchess of Sussex during a visit to Croke Park, on day two of their visit to Dublin, Ireland

PA

Meghan Markle during her Dublin visit

Meghan Markle during her Dublin visit

Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (2R) and his wife Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (R) talk with his father Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (L) and his wife Britain's Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (2L) during their visit to the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC) in Loughborough, central England on February 11, 2020

Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (2R) and his wife Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (R) talk with his father Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (L) and his wife Britain's Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (2L) during their visit to the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC) in Loughborough, central England on February 11, 2020

POOL/AFP via Getty Images

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Kate Middleton holds a snake as she visits the Ark Open Farm at Newtownards in Co Down yesterday. Photo: Chris Jackson/Pool via REUTERS

Businesses lucky enough to be visited by Prince William and Kate Middleton in March are set for a royal bounce in profits and customer footfall.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge announced on Tuesday they will pay their first official visit to Ireland on March 3.

Queen Elizabeth's historic 2011 visit was a resounding success and described as a "watershed moment" by outgoing Tánaiste Simon Coveney.

Ireland has become a popular destination for royals in recent times. Meghan Markle and Prince Harry chose Dublin for their 'mini-moon' in July 2018, after their star-studded wedding in May.

Businesses who received the Duke and Duchess of Sussex on that trip told the Irish Independent yesterday the publicity and boost to business following the royal visit had proved invaluable. Owner of restaurant Delahunt in Dublin's Camden Street Darren Free recalled the tidal wave of interest that followed the royal couple's private lunch.

"We were booked up for a number of months," he said.

He said the restaurant was exposed to a different kind of customer.

"It opened us up to a different audience, especially tourists and younger people as well.

"A lot of Canadian interest, Meghan is very popular in Canada," he laughed.

The couple also visited EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum in the Docklands during their short visit.

Aileesh Carew, director of sales and marketing at the museum, said that a tidal wave of customers followed their visit.

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A Duke and Duchess of Sussex during a visit to Croke Park, on day two of their visit to Dublin, Ireland

A Duke and Duchess of Sussex during a visit to Croke Park, on day two of their visit to Dublin, Ireland

PA

"It was double our normal footfall the day after," she said.

"The following day we had one of busiest recorded days, part of it was due to being closed during the visit but part of it was the Harry and Meghan effect. We were pretty new, we had only been open for two years so it was a great boost for us in terms of awareness, both nationally and internationally."

However, a royal visit takes royal preparation.

"You have communication when it comes up to about a month in advance, almost daily," Ms Carew said. "You probably have about 10 large visits prior to the visit itself with larger delegations."

Fishmonger Pat O'Connell made headlines in 2011 when Queen Elizabeth came to his stall in The English Market in Cork.

"Thousands came up to us in the days after the visit," he said. "It was great for the market and it was great for the city, nobody expected the huge turnout. It was an incredible boost for the businesses in Cork and it didn't cost anything.

"Every day, people still come up to the stall and ask about the queen. Every single day," he added.

Yesterday, Kate Middleton visited an open farm in Co Down and while William and Kate have visited Northern Ireland twice in recent years, March will be their first official visit to the Republic.

Irish Independent