THE controversial new rules for tourists accessing the English Market are proving a success, minimising overcrowding and ensuring that visitors experience the ‘real English Market’, according to city chiefs.
Some 4,500 people have been registered with the English Market for tour purposes since the introduction of the rules in recent months.
The new protocols were introduced at the start of March and require tour operators to register with market management on an annual basis.
Tour group sizes are limited to eight people, with larger groups required to split into smaller groups as they move through the market.
The rules, which were designed after extensive consultation with the English Market traders’ group, are designed to protect commerce at the market which is ‘above all a centre of commerce and trade’, according to the City Council.
Elected members raised concerns that limiting access would send out a negative message, potentially undermining the image of Cork as a welcoming tourist destination, though city management have confirmed that the new rules are already proving successful.
"The vast majority of tour operators have been very cooperative and recognise and appreciate the purpose of the protocols," a report presented to elected members said.
It continued, "The majority of English Market traders are also very happy with the manner in which the protocols are progressing.
"The introduction of the protocols has already minimised overcrowding, ensured efficient functionality for customers buying goods, addressed health and safety concerns and has enabled tourists to experience the true English Market and all it has to offer."
City officials have confirmed that the protocols will be ‘kept under continuous review’ and may be changed if deemed necessary.
Some 450 people are employed at the market, which has become a major draw for tourists since the visit of Queen Elizabeth II in 2011. It has also been endorsed by the likes of celebrity chef Rick Stein.
Large tour groups posed issues for many in the narrow market aisles, including wheelchair users and people with buggies.
A city survey also determined that the vast majority of those who visited the market did not actually buy anything.