The importance of Norwegian‘s route from Cork Airport to Boston Providence has been revealed by the surge in visitors from America to the city.
“For many of our member hotels, visitors from the US did not even register as a significant market,” said Neil Grant, Chairman of the Cork Branch of the Irish Hotel Federation. “However, it now represents our third biggest market behind the Irish and UK markets and is closing the gap on the UK quickly.”
Cork Airport said the service has benefitted the south of Ireland hugely in terms of inbound tourism, as 60pc of the passengers are from the US.
However, the year-round service has been cut to a summer-only route, and it won’t operate from November to March. The DAA said last spring it had made “significant” efforts to keep the service after the budget airline said low demand had forced it to rethink the year-round plan.
Cork Airport’s Managing Director, Niall MacCarthy, said the service has still “opened many new doors for both business and leisure passengers in the region and has proven vital for those travelling between the south of Ireland and the east coast of America.
“Irish people now have affordable direct access from Cork Airport to popular US holiday destinations in New England, such as Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. This service has also given US holiday makers a significantly easier arrival into the south of Ireland, perfect for those who wish to experience the beauty the region has to offer.”
The IHF’s Neil Grant said that “over the past year, the volume of US visitors to hotels in this region has grown substantially due in no small part to the transatlantic route into Cork Airport. Direct access into Cork for the Wild Atlantic Way has rewritten visiting US guests’ itineraries significantly.
“With Ireland’s Ancient East also building more and more traction overseas, the Boston Providence flight came at the perfect time for Cork and the surrounding region to capitalise on this new-found visibility for Irish tourism through our southern gateway.”
Cork Airport has seen overall passenger growth of 3.5pc in the first six months of 2018.