There was more good news for tourism as, in the week that Limerick National City of Culture was launched, Shannon Airport showed further growth with a 5% increase on month-over-month passenger numbers for October.
Some 116,901 passengers flew through Shannon last month compared to 111,699 in October 2012, an increase of 5%. The biggest increase came in European traffic for October following a hugely successful summer of US traffic growth, which also showed growth of 4% despite the ending of summer season services earlier in the autumn.
Shannon Group plc CEO Neil Pakey said that the October figures rounded off what has been a great week for the region. “This week is a special one for the region with the very exciting programme launch for Limerick National City of Culture 2014. The Shannon Group will play a pivotal role in the project by bringing in visitors for the many flagship events in the programme next year. We are equally pleased that Shannon Heritage will also be contributing significantly to the programme through cultural attractions and particularly through a range of arts activities at King John’s Castle.
“This is our fifth successive month of growth and a really positive sign for the year ahead,” said Mr Pakey, a member of the Board of Limerick National City of Culture 2014.
News of the growth in October figures comes less than a fortnight after Ryanair announced eight new services from April of next year, to Berlin, Paris, Fuerteventura, Warsaw, Faro, Munich, Nice and Krakow.
Mr Pakey continued, “Three of those cities - Berlin, Paris and Krakow - are former European Capitals of Culture so the opportunity to drive inbound tourism for Limerick next year from these locations and, indeed, right across our network is now much stronger.
“It’s shaping up to be a really exciting year for the West. In addition to our already outstanding tourism product and Limerick National City of Culture 2014, we also have the Wild Atlantic Way project getting underway. We hope the Wild Atlantic Way initiative will be one of the great tourism success stories for years to come here for Ireland. Our continued growth and addition of new services will be central to its success as Shannon will be the premier gateway for the route, which runs from Donegal to West Cork.”