Hundreds of jobs could be saved by Volvo Ocean Race finale spin-offJune 14, 2012 - 7:30am
By Dara Bradley
Hundreds of jobs in the hospitality, services and retail sectors right across Galway could be saved if the predictions that the Volvo Ocean Race finale in the city this summer will bring a boost of €80 million and attract 800,000 people to the region, materialise.
As well as staving off lay-offs in hard-pressed small businesses, such as shops, restaurants, bars and in the accommodation sector in Galway, it has been predicted that hundreds of additional seasonal, casual and part-time will be taken on for the week of the Volvo Ocean Race Finale festival which kicks off on June 30.
Fáilte Ireland West have already reported that bookings for accommodation in the city is nearing full capacity while there is also a huge uptake in bookings in outlying areas of the county where individual businesses have sought to capitalise on the event with innovative packages including transport to the city.
Galway West Fine Gael TD, Brian Walsh, predicted the event would provide a major shot in the arm to tourism-related businesses which are under pressure to maintain staffing levels, pay the bills and keep their doors open. “While we have seen stabilisation and growth in tourism numbers for the first time since 2007 under this Government, many businesses in the hospitality and service sector are still struggling.
“The Volvo Ocean Race finale represents a major boost for those businesses, which will allow them to protect existing jobs and create hundreds of seasonal positions during what promises to be an exceptional summer in Galway. The stopover here in 2009 was worth around €56 million to the local economy and attracted 650,000 spectators to Galway.
“The finale later this month will be even bigger and is expected to be worth as much as €80 million and bring to the city up to 800,000 people. That’s a lot of bednights, and will obviously have a massive impact on businesses operating in the service industry throughout the broader region, which will be able to maintain and increase their workforces in response to additional demand,” said Deputy Walsh.
Eva Dearie, Client Services Manager, Fáilte Ireland West, said the ripple effect of the Volvo Ocean Race will be spread out to the county.
“Places like Clifden have organised shuttle buses into the city and we are hearing reports that county towns and areas all along the Limerick to Galway and Dublin to Galway railway lines are getting increased bookings for the Volvo,” she said.
Read more in today’s Connacht Tribune