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Cork City Council is seeking to develop a major tourism product that can rival the success of the ‘Titanic Visitor Centre’ in Belfast, which opened in March 2012 and has attracted four million visitors.
Cork City Council is seeking to develop a major tourism product that can rival the success of the ‘Titanic Visitor Centre’ in Belfast, which opened in March 2012 and has attracted four million visitors.
SOCIAL BOOKMARKS

Cork city lacks a ‘wow factor’ tourism landmark

FÁILTE Ireland has said Cork city has no tourism ‘wow factor’, prompting City Hall to rethink its tourism strategy.

City officials are considering ways to enhance existing tourism attractions in the city, as well as exploring options to develop a landmark product that can draw hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.

It follows a recent meeting where Fáilte Ireland chiefs outlined the need for a single attraction that could act as a tourist magnet for the city.

Ann Doherty, chief executive of Cork City Council, said that senior officials at City Hall are keen to enhance the city’s offering to deliver an attraction comparable to the Guinness Storehouse or Belfast’s Titanic Experience.

The latter has brought four million visitors to Belfast since opening in 2012, while the Guinness Storehouse welcomed 1.7 million people in 2017 alone.

Ms Doherty said: “We need to explore adding something new as well as developing what we have. But we have to do something unique. There are lots of forts and castles and churches all over Cork and Ireland so it might be necessary to dial into something unique.

“What Belfast did with the Titanic, that was unique. What Guinness did with the storehouse, that was unique. We are not there right now but it needs to be something that you can’t get anywhere else. It has to be a joint partnership with the private sector - that’s the key to success.” Fáilte Ireland officials told the city that it is well-poised to attract a greater share of Ireland’s tourism visitors.

Ms Doherty added: “We have a nice necklace of offerings: Elizabeth Fort, the Triskel, St Peter’s, the English Market, for example. But, what we don’t have is a wow factor attraction, the one that attracts 200, 300 or 400,000 people each year.

“That does not exist in the city — we are surrounded by it. Blarney has it, Spike Island has it, Fota has it, Cobh is getting there, and that is fantastic. But the city needs one as well.

“We enjoy the luxury of being right in the middle of the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland’s Ancient East, both of the national marketing strategies and that gives us a great opportunity.” Ms Doherty said that it is a ‘long-term project’ to get the right attraction in place but said that the city will work towards it in addition to its continued work in enhancing its existing leisure and business tourism offerings.