Galway City is losing out on thousands of visitors each year by not providing a proper drop off and collection depot for tour buses.
A meeting took place last week between the Galway City Business Association, Minister of State Alan Kelly, Galway Deputy Derek Nolan and Cllr Niall McNelis about the loss of visitors to Galway City and mounting competition from cities including Killarney and Cork.
Cllr McNelis said the drop off point for visitors is at the Galway Cathedral, which he deemed “too far” as tour operators prefer to have a location approximately 100 meters from the main shopping area. In other cities, facilities are also provided to these tour buses where they can wash their vehicles or obtain refreshments.
The delegation that met the Minister last week asked for assistance in using the CIE land at the back of Ceannt Station, claiming that if this was possible, it would lead to up to an extra 40 coach tours each day visiting the city.
“I have spoken to a number of the larger tour operators and they agree that bus parking in the city centre needs to be improved to get more of them to stop off in Galway City. We are very lucky that Galway is being used as a destination for a number of days, they stay here for three nights visit Connemara, the Cliffs of Moher, Aran Islands, Sligo or Mayo. They come back to city hotels each night but drivers are reluctant to drop them into city centre as drop-off is a problem,” said Cllr McNelis.
He added that if this issue could be sorted out, it would lead to jobs being created as visitor numbers increase. Minister Kelly also gave a commitment at the meeting to speak to CIE officials in the coming weeks.