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Galway Shows Irish Turf's Tourism Potential

Thursday, 28th July 2005

In Ireland, the success of this week's Galway Races "proves Irish horseracing has massive potential to increase tourism revenues & international marketing of the sport should be stepped up, according to Fine Gael (Irish political party) tourism spokesperson Jimmy Deenihan," reported racingpost.co.uk. With over 120,000 punters expected to attend the Galway festival & 50,000 horseracing tourists travelling to the country each year, Deenihan noted the estimated Û125m (A$200m) bet at the festival & Û70m (A$112) generated for the local economy showed the potential of horse racing: "Given that there are over 300 race meetings taking place around the country every year, generating Û23m (A$36m) in gate receipts & over Û110m (A$176m) in consumer revenue, there is a massive opportunity to build the numbers of tourists coming to Ireland for race meetings. Not only that, but a report prepared by Horse Racing Ireland indicates horse racing is a key attraction for visitors from Great Britain, a market which has experienced some worrying declines in recent times. Recent tourism reports have shown that, while tourists continue to visit Dublin in high numbers, operators in the regions & especially the west, are struggling to survive. I have been calling for some time for the Government to recognise the need for innovation & new product development, as well as a balanced regional tourism strategy, but it has continued to turn a blind eye. Our busy horse racing calendar presents an ideal, innovative opportunity to attract international visitors to meetings across the country, from Killarney to Galway, Mayo, Sligo & Roscommon, & provide a boost to tourism revenues in the regions & the economy overall."

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