THERE has been a phenomenal surge in interest in Kildare tourist accommodation with Hotels.com reporting a 191% increase in web hits from the UK, 111% from the US and 225% from within Ireland. This comes just a couple of weeks after the queen’s visit.
Although experts on the ground say these figures have not translated into actual visits yet, it is expected to boost tourism in the coming months with a knock-on effect kicking in next year.
Frieda O’Connell of the Japanese Gardens, said visitor numbers had not increased so far.
“We didn’t expect an immediate increase. We never thought it would take off that quickly but we do expect it to take effect next year. If someone is planning an overseas visit, they need time to plan it and get organised. We would hope to see the visitors numbers increase towards the end of the year and next year,” she said.
Nuala Murray of Kildare Failte said it was too early to ascertain what impact the visit of Queen Elizabeth II would have on local tourism. She said the Visit Kildare website has half a million hits every year anyway. She said the Kildare Failte board would be meeting to continue to develop strategies to benefit from the recent royal visit.
Chairman of Kildare Chamber, Michael McWey welcomed the figures.
“We were always hoping that there would be a positive effect for the town and the county. These figures are encouraging and we will be continuing to work with the Tidy Towns to make sure that Kildare is an attractive place for retailers. We have a number of vacant units around the town, like any other town in the county, and we want to encourage retailers to come here and make sure that this is a good place to do business.”
Tom McCutcheon of the Kildare Heritage Centre said visitor enquiries were up about 1,000 on this time last year although he said it was hard to say if this had been due to the visits of the Dalai Lama or the Queen.
“We are starting to see a slow drip of English people coming through. There is definitely more people around,” he remarked. He said he hoped to see the interest translate into an increase in visits in the coming weeks.
There will be a classic car rally at the Kildare Heritage Centre on Sunday at 3pm. Mario Corrigan will also be leading a free historical walk from the Heritage Centre at 1pm.