19 July 2012
Galway City kicked off its acclaimed festival season with a bang this year, with the arrival of the Volvo Ocean Race on the 30th June, and will be followed by week after week of internationally recognised performance arts and sporting events, from now, right up to the end of September. Failte Ireland has been working with each of these high profile festivals to capitalise on the opportunity they present to grow the regions tourism business during the 2012 summer season.
Galway is known the world over for its friendly people, charming streets, shopping and energetic nightlife, and it is now revved up for another fun-filled summer. The Galway International Film Fleadh (10th to 15th July), The Galway International Arts Festival (16th – 29th July), the Galway Races (30th July – 5th August), Ironman 70.3 Galway (2nd September) and the Galway and Clarenbridge Oyster Festivals (September) are among the leading events which showcase the unique season of festivals in Galway over the summer months of July, August and September.
Failte Ireland has worked with these events for many years and assisted with their development and marketing in the domestic and overseas markets and has provided financial assistance through its National and Regional Festivals and Events Schemes. The organisation is also planning to introduce a bespoke business supports programme specifically for festivals and events in the West region in the Autumn, an initiative which is being led by the Failte West Forums Festivals Sub Group, chaired by John Crumlish, Manager of the Galway International Arts Festival and member of the Arts Council of Ireland.
The summer long programme of festivals in Galway is continuously promoted to visitors through a dedicated page on Failte Irelands consumer website www.discoverireland.ie/Galway which is regularly updated with information on Things to Do, Where to Stay and Special Offers in Galway and in the West of Ireland.
Client Services Manager for Galway, Eva Dearie emphasised –
“Festivals provide a major opportunity to showcase our culture, people and places. They also animate key destinations and greatly improve the overall visitor experience of Ireland. Galway Citys summer programme of Festivals and Events firmly places Galway on the top of people’s list for short-breaks and longer term holidays by highlighting the fun and night life offered by this vibrant city.
We aim this Summer to provide visitors with a unique and memorable experience and I am sure that anyone who comes to Galway this year will be rushing back to tell all their friends and families about what they’ve seen - further increasing Galway’s image as the capital of Festival fun in Ireland .”
Festivals/Events – Key statistics:
• Attendances at festivals/events by overseas visitors in 2010 were estimated to be 443,000.
• In 2011 Failte Ireland spent approx.€ 536,500 on festivals and events in the Galway area and an additional €4 million towards securing the Volvo Ocean Race for Galway in 2012.
• Fáilte Ireland invested 3.8 million in grants to 228 festivals and events throughout Ireland in 2010
• The total combined value of the economic activity generated by Festivals in Ireland was calculated to be €448 million in 2010 (by Fitzpatrick Associates Economists on behalf of Fáilte Ireland).
The tourism demand for Festivals
Overseas Tourism: In 2010 an estimated 3 million overseas visitors engaged in cultural activities while in Ireland, including visits to places of historical/cultural interest and gardens, attending festival/events and tracing roots/genealogy generating approximately €2.4 billion.
Domestic Tourism: Research carried out in the Summer of 2009 by Red C research on behalf of Fáilte Ireland found that 40% of all adults in Ireland over 18 attend festivals in Ireland. On average they attend 2 to 3 festivals annually and 72% spend one or more nights away from home while attending festivals. This research indicates that festivals generate in excess of 2 million bednights in Ireland from the domestic market alone.
The tourism impact of festivals in Ireland: The spending by festival goers (locals and visitors) on hospitality, accommodation and transport provides a valuable boost to urban and rural economies all over Ireland supporting employment and creating opportunities for the hospitality and cultural sectors.