Gerry Duffy, former chairperson and founder member of Cahir Tourism expressed a cautious welcome on the re-opening of the Cahir Tourist Office last week.
“The office only opened after extensive local lobbying, and will be open only for six days a week, being closed on Mondays. While some might be happy with that, accommodation providers would prefer if the tourist office opened seven days a week all year round.
“As it transpired, the closure covered the Easter and St Patrick’s weekend periods, when there is an increased footfall of tourists in the Cahir Area. Coupled with the fact that The Swiss Cottage did not open until Easter Saturday this year, the lack of a tourist office with walk-in room booking facilities and skilled multi-lingual staff has meant a loss in revenue both to the local economy and Failte Ireland who would have earned a percentage of each bed night booked there.
“However the tourist office is now open and the positives are that skilled tourist desk staff can welcome our visitors and encourage them to stay in the region with benefits to accommodation providers not only in Cahir town, but in the local areas of Ardfinnan, Clogheen, Ballyporeen, Bansha, Kilcoran and New Inn,” Mr Duffy said.
Cahir Castle alone is attracting over 1,000 visitors per week on average (Failte Ireland 2010 figures are 52,037) If the tourist office was open year round a good percentage of those 1,000 weekly visitors would enquire about local accommodation, meals, music in pubs etc. and generate increased income in the area and resultant increased full and part-time employment, he maintains.
“Tripadvisor has currently ranked Cahir Castle as the Number 1 attraction (of 38 tourist attractions) and The Swiss Cottage Number 3 in the whole county of Tipperary, thus topping The Rock of Cashel, proof indeed that Cahir has a lot to offer to the tourist and we must look to our tourism administrators to market that potential,” Mr. Duffy concluded.