Published on 2 September, 2007. By John Reynolds
Although tourist numbers have increased this year, the famous Quiet Man Cottage in Cong, Co. Mayo, where John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara starred in the 1953 film, is in danger of closing.
Traditionally a popular attraction for many of the 1 million high-spending tourists from the US and Canada who visit Ireland every year, the cottage is currently losing money.
“We’ve always been popular with American tourists, but we’ve had such a bad season that we’re in danger of closing the cottage.
“Business is down by 40 per cent and it’s being subsidised by our accommodation income. We’ve also had fewer visitors from Northern Ireland this year,” said manager Margaret Collins.
Rural tourism in the west has been hit by this year’s record rainfall and the rising popularity of weekend city breaks.
However, tourists from the US and Canada are up by 4.6 per cent and those from mainland Europe by 15.5 per cent, according to figures from Tourism Ireland.
But the ability of rural attractions to compete with cheap flights and short city breaks has been hampered by this summer’s wet weather.
The situation is unlikely to improve while the west awaits the outcome of Aer Lingus moving its Heathrow flights from Shannon next year.
Tapping into new markets such as outdoor sports may be one solution to the problem.