The owner of one of Ireland’s most successful tourist attractions, Blarney Castle, has called for increased support for private tourist attractions amid a collapse in visitor numbers due to Covid-19.
Sir Charles Colthurst, whose family owns and operates Blarney Castle and Gardens, said ticket receipts for the Co Cork tourist attraction have fallen 85% due to restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
According to Failte Ireland, Blarney Castle and Gardens was the 10th most visited paid tourist attraction in the country in 2018, with 460,000 people, but Sir Charles said the Covid-19 pandemic had decimated the number of visitors.
“Blarney Castle has 90 full-time and part-time employees at the height of a normal summer season, when up to 65,000 tourists visit each month. This year, the number of visitors in August fell to 10,000, ”he said.
“Efforts are being made to protect the jobs of 30 full-time employees at Blarney Castle and Gardens during the off-season, but the impact on Gates revenue and the lack of government support has had a significant impact. “
Sir Charles said he was extremely grateful to the people of Blarney and Cork who bought seasonal passes to access the castle and park and supported the attraction during the pandemic.
He said the priority for private operators of attractions such as Blarney Castle was to “keep the lights on, protect our employees’ incomes and ensure that we are well positioned to enjoy a recovery. Business”.
“Unlike public tourist attractions, where public funds are freely allocated for upkeep and maintenance, private sector funds alone have to bear this burden,” said Sir Charles, whose family has owned Blarney Castle for 300 years.
“I would ask the government to consider a special package of measures to support businesses like ours. We will again become important contributors in terms of taxes, but not if our companies are not supported in the meantime. “