Decision to temporarily close Shannon Heritage visitor attractions in the Mid-West at the end of summer season clearly demonstrates COVID-19’s impact on tourism sector dependent on international visitors

“The recent announcement that Bunratty Castle & Folk Park and King John’s Castle will temporarily close at the end of the summer season until 2021 was a difficult decision for Shannon Group,” said  Shannon Chamber CEO Helen Downes, reacting to the news.

“COVID-19 has forced businesses throughout Ireland to make so many difficult decisions in the past few months. This decision is compounded by the fact that international air travel is not expected to get back to 2019 levels until 2023, as communicated by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Minister Ross. It is unlikely therefore that tourism businesses will have any international visitors for the remainder of the year and beyond that, if predictions are accurate.   

“All of this information informs a decision which has been a very difficult one for everyone involved, employees, the county and the Mid-West region.  

“We understand that Bunratty Castle and Folk Park and King John’s Castle will open for the summer season and the reality is that off-season tourism business will be hard to sustain with just a domestic audience. We can see the challenges facing the tourism sector, especially if you factor in social distancing, which will severely limit the number of customers. 

“This has been a very difficult decision for the Shannon Group to make. It is equally difficult for the employees who work in these visitor attractions. We would encourage those planning staycations this year to spend time in the amazing range of visitor attractions that have been developed in the Mid-West and across Ireland. They are more dependent that every before on domestic visitors this year,” added Ms Downes.