Emerald Star parent company Le Boat has reflected its confidence in the Irish tourism market with the launch of a new range of crusing boats called Horizon.
The Emerald Star business, originally started by Guinness in the 1970s, suffered in the recent downturn, said the company’s Mark Roding at a briefing in Dublin’s Whiskey Museum on Grafton Street.
“We originally had two bases – Carrick-on-Shannon and Portumna – and in the 90s we opened a based in Belturbet on the Erne. Unfortunately due to the recession we closed that base again.
“We saw a significant downturn around 2009/2010. We shipped out a lot of our fleet from Ireland to Europe and we saw our fleet decline from just over 200 boats to 60.” Emerald Star currently has 50 boats at its main base in Carrick and 20 in Portumna.
“We’re actually now growing and seeing significant growth. This year we’re hoping to finish with 12.5pc growth on last year. The management in Europe, looking at Ireland, see Ireland as worthy of investment and we’re investing a lot of money in fleet for the Irish market.”
Le Boat based the design of the Horizon range on the needs of customers. Features include modern galley areas and a centrepiece top-deck with barbecue facilities and sun (or rain) canopy. “A lot of customers are repeat customers; they’re coming the last 40 or 50 years. Even the name of the boat itself was decided on by a vote by our customers,” said Mr Rodin. More details of the new vessels, starting at 11.5 metres, can be found on www.emeraldstar.ie