Seafest 2017 is expected to attract over 80,000 visitors to the West this weekend, in what will be a major midsummer tourism boost for the region.
The first of the 100 ships and boats which will anchor in Galway Harbour during the maritime festival arrived on Monday, when work on constructing SeaFest’s Festival Village at the docks also got underway.
The organisers of the National Maritime Festival, which runs from Friday 28 June to Sunday 2 July, say many hotels are already booked out as delegates fly in to take part in a global ocean science summit in the city, and families from all across Ireland prepare to take staycations here during the festival.
Festival chairman Dr John Killeen said, “Seafest has generated enormous interest at home and abroad establishing itself as a global leader in ocean research and the biggest family friendly free festival of its kind in the country this year.
“With the level of hotel and restaurant bookings we are seeing, we estimate that the maritime festival based around the Harbour and the ocean summit at NUI Galway will be worth at least €5 million in direct income and many times more in indirect spending.”
Seafest has grown from a small event, which attracted 10,000 visitors in its inaugural year in Cork, to one of the most talked about festivals of the year which is expected to attract between 80,000 and 100,000 to Galway over the next four days.
Welcoming SeaFest, Rory Fitzpatrick, Chairman, Irish Hotels Federation, Galway Branch, said, “The Galway Branch of the Irish Hotels Federation welcomes once again SeaFest to the city and the influx of business and leisure customers attending and enjoying the many events and activities over this weekend. Putting Galway firmly on the map for marine related events and festivities, SeaFest builds on the already great reputation Galway has for hosting celebrations of all kinds,”
Hotels and restaurants in Galway’s Latin Quarter, which are this year playing a leading role in supporting SeaFest, have described it as “a most exciting kick off to a summer of festivals in the heart of Galway”. In July alone the city is hosting four major festivals; SeaFest, The Galway International Arts Festival and the Galway Races.
SeaFest will be officially opened by Galway City’s new Mayor Councillor Pearce Flannery at an event in the Radisson Blu Hotel on Thursday night.
“SeaFest is a very significant event for Galway and is also playing an important role in promoting national awareness of the richness of our marine environment and resources,” said Cllr Flannery.