Although the weather has impacted severely on the tourist trade in Waterford and the South East and unfavourable currency fluctuations have added to the difficulties, Failte Ireland Regional Manager Mr. Joe Palmer emphasised, when talking on the subject yesterday, that it was not all doom and gloom.
He acknowledged that visitor numbers were considerably down overall, especially those from the US, UK and Europe on account of the currency factor, and major fixture cancellations like Tramore losing two days of its racing festival last weekend were a big blow for those depending on such events to boost their seasonal “take”.
But on the plus side, those engaged in the industry were showing initiative and courage by offering all kinds of bargains to attract consumers, who were major beneficiaries as a consequence.
“Remember too”, said Mr. Palmer, “that we have had ten years of growth in tourism and we cannot complain too much when we are hit with a difficult season. “Not that it is over yet and I’m confident there will be a turn for the better as we head into the autumn period”, he added.
Giving rise to that kind of optimism is the fact that there are fixtures on the agenda which are bound to attract patrons and vital trade. This weekend, for instance, the Bluegrass Festival in Dunmore East will be a magnet for many music lovers while the Sean Kelly cycling tour of Waterford has 1,500 entrants.
There are also open golf events up-coming at clubs in the city at county which will attract players hungry for competition in that sphere after losing out on account of the rain during what would normally be the peak season.
“While it has been problematical for many in the tourist sector, the people involved are resilient and I’m confident they will overcome the hiccup and bounce back with a stronger product next year”, Mr. Palmer concluded.