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Cork Independent


New tourism cycling event to start in Cork

Friday, 14th July, 2017 10:13am

Cork's appeal as a tourist destination is set to be boosted after a new series of cycling events along the Wild Atlantic Way was announced yesterday.

Fáilte Ireland said it is to team up with cycling specialists Ride Wild to launch the Wild Atlantic Way Cycle Sportif – a series of bi-annual cycling events along the coastal route.

The aim is to promote the Wild Atlantic Way as a cycling destination internationally and domestically; as well as attract visitors across the full length of the route during off-season months.

 An inaugural ride will take place along the route this September and a further two events per year will take place from 2018 to 2020. The route map has been developed by Ride Wild but will be subject to change as the event grows.

Fáilte Ireland are planning to invest €650,000 in the initiative between now and 2020, with the ambition to grow the average number of cyclists per day from 400 in 2018 to 1,000 per day in 2020. It is hoped that, if the initiative becomes popular, it will become self-financing.

The inaugural event is set to take place from 13-29 September, with stage one starting in Kinsale and finishing 144km later in Skibbereen. Stage two runs from Skibb to Bantry over 124km and the third stage begins in Bantry and heads over the border to Kenmare.

Minister of State for Tourism and Sports Brendan Griffin said: “The Wild Atlantic Way was made for initiatives like this and the additional tourism activity generated will benefit many small rural communities along the west coast. I am particularly pleased to welcome an event which will increase bed-nights across the full length of the Wild Atlantic Way during off-peak times of the year.”

Fáilte Ireland CEO Paul Kelly today emphasised that cycling has great potential for tourism in Cork. Research indicates that the average cycling tourist spends an average of five nights attending a sportif event. Nearly 400 official cycling sportifs take place in Ireland each year - along with many more local events - and the number of events is growing each year.

Explaining the benefit for tourism of the cycling sportif, Fáilte Ireland CEO Paul Kelly today said: “We have our own natural cycling route along the Wild Atlantic Way and I would imagine every cycling enthusiast would love to hop on a bike and enjoy the unique landscapes of counties such as Cork.

“If we can meet our visitor targets, we estimate that the cycle sportif could generate over €13m and up to 50,000 bed nights. Importantly, we will also be generating significant visitor activity in off-season months which will help businesses stay open longer. This is a real bonus for areas that are outside the traditional tourist hot spots.”

Inaugural Ride September 2017

Participants in the sportif will have the option of covering the full distance, which is over 2,000 km, over a set number of days, completing a stage of the sportif over a multi-day section of the route or joining the event for a single day.

The Wild Atlantic Way Cycle Sportif will take place bi-annually every April and September from 2018 to 2020. However, this 13-29 September, Ride Wild are organising a pilot event and all interested cyclists and clubs are invited to be the first to try the new cycling event.

The web page for September’s event can be accessed at

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