€63m ‘world-class experience’ upgrade of Cliffs of Moher may result in 62pc entry fee hike

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A €63m blueprint for the development of Ireland’s most popular natural visitor attraction, the Cliffs of Moher, is proposing a 62.5pc price hike in the average entrance fee.

s part of their work on a Cliffs of Moher Strategy 2040, consultants for Clare County Council project that the increase in average admission price to €10.40, coupled with a 31pc increase in annual visitor numbers to two million, will deliver a doubling in annual profits of €11.3m for the Council-run attraction.

In the 91-page draft 2040 Strategy document, which sets out the future of the Cliffs of Moher over the next 20 years, UK-based consultants, Hayley Sharpe Design (HSD) reveal that in 2019, the Cliffs of Moher visitor attraction recorded a profit of €5.8m.

This was based on admission ticket income of €9.7m from a record 1.52 million visitors – an average ticket price of €6.40.

Now, as part of the 2040 Strategy, HSD state that the Cliffs of Moher can generate €11.3m in annual profits.

Total revenues for 2019 amounted to €10.3m and HSD are projecting annual revenues of €23m in their 2040 masterplan.

They state that this can be done by generating €20.8m in ticket revenues by increasing the average ticket price to €10.40.

The consultants – who recently made a presentation on their strategy at a behind-closed-doors meeting with members of Clare County Council – say that current Cliffs of Moher ticket prices are “significantly lower” than benchmarking comparisons.

They point out that Ireland’s top 10 attractions have an average entrance fee of €14.83, while the Giant’s Causeway costs €13.50 and Stonehenge in England costing €23.80.

The growth in revenues and visitor numbers at the Cliffs of Moher is predicated on a capital spend of €63m proposed in the draft strategy.

The proposed spend includes an outlay of €27m on new walkway attractions.

This includes a spend of €19.85m on new looped walkways along with €4.5m on a feature hillside trigonometry point and €3.3m on walkways.

The blueprint also proposes a spend of €19.5m on visitor centre works along with a €6.4m on park-and-ride facilities to serve the cliffs from Ennistymon and Lisdoonvarna.

The consultants say that pre-Covid some of the issues at peak times that required attention included vehicle congestion, poor sense of arrival and disruption for local residents.

HSD – which secured the €398,547 contract to draw up the 2040 strategy in November 2019 – also said that the Cliffs of Moher had a limited economic impact through short dwell times, low secondary spending and limited overnight stays.

The 2040 blueprint also envisages a large increase in numbers employed at the Cliffs of Moher with 2019 staff costs increasing from €2.64m to €5.28m.

HSD said that the blueprint includes plans for “a new world-class experience” that will include new viewpoints, a subterranean experience and a cantilevered walkway that would go over the edge of the Cliffs.

HSD also say that the overall plan is to create a sustainable tourism development while realising enhanced economic benefits from all visitors.

Online Editors

Source: Irish News