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European Capital of Culture 2005 Economic Assessment

Comhairle Cathrach Chorcaí Cork City Council

A Ard-Mheara agus Chomhairleoiri,

Re: European Capital of Culture 2005
Economic Assessment

We commissioned Dr. Moloney of University College Cork to carry out an economic assessment of the contribution of tourism and conference business to Cork City and its hinterland in respect of the years 2003, 2005 and 2006.

The report for 2003 was published in 2004 and gave a baseline against which we can measure the economic success of ‘Cork 2005’.

Visitor Numbers
The preliminary figures for 2005 are now to hand. They indicate that visitor numbers in 2005 were 1,137,000 higher than in 2003. In 2003 the total of all visitors including overseas and domestic amounted to 3,006,000. This number had increased to 4,243,000 for the year 2005 which represents an increase of 38%.

Revenue Generated
The direct financial contribution from visitors in 2003 was €324m. In 2005 this amounted to €414m an increase of €90m representing a 28% increase.

Within these overall figures the report indicates that same day visitors in 2003 numbered 2,574,000 and generated €122m. In 2005 there were 3,751,000 same day visitors generating €158m.

National Comparison
On the national level total visitor numbers in 2005 including domestic trips were 7% higher than in 2003. Revenue earnings in 2005 were 7½% higher than in 2003.

The respective figures for Cork City and its hinterland at 38% and 28% greatly exceed the national figures and can for the most part be attributed to the successful promotion of Cork 2005.

It is clear from the returns that ‘Cork 2005’ was an outstanding economic success and greatly exceeded what we might have reasonably expected. Our total revenue investment in Cork 2005 was €17m. The extra €90m earned in 2005 was the immediate economic return but ‘Cork 2005’ has laid foundations for continuing benefits into the future. We must build on these foundations. We now have a physically more attractive centre city with the renewal of St. Patrick Street, Oliver Plunkett Street and Grand Parade. We have added to our cultural infrastructure with the provision of the new Glucksman Gallery, the extension to the Cork Museum, the Lifetime Lab, the new Civic Archives, the Astronomy Centre at Blackrock Castle and the new School of Music. Several new hotels have been built and plans are well advanced for a major increase in the volume and range of retail provision in the city.
Many of the cultural initiatives started in 2005 are continuing - the Frank O’Connor Short Story Prize, the Ceilí Mór, the Ocean to City Boat Race, the Lee Swim and Opera 2005.

A marketing partnership has been established to promote tourism and conference business and plans for a large indoor events centre are being actively pursued. A physically attractive city, good cultural infrastructure, good retail provision and good access are essential ingredients for the development of urban tourism.

I would like to thank the members and staff of Cork City Council, the Board and staff of Cork 2005, the Arts Community, the Business Community and the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism for their input in making Cork 2005 such a great success.

A report has been commissioned on the impact of Cork 2005 on art and culture in the city from Dr. Bernadette Quinn of Dublin Institute of Technology. This report and the full economic report from Dr. Moloney will be available by November.


25th September 2006

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