Visitor numbers to Inishowen for the first six months of this year are up by 37% on the same period in 2014, Inishowen Tourism has revealed.
The peninsula has become a prime destination for tourists, particularly from France, with record numbers attending at the Inishowen Tourism offices in Buncrana and Carndonagh in August.
Siobhan Kelly, marketing manager, told the Journal that on the Friday, August 7th, one of the strongest tourism weeks and also the Clonmany Festival week, a total of 81 people walked through the doors of their offices in Carndonagh and Buncrana.
Due to demand, Inishowen Tourism recently extended its office hours to open on a Sunday during July and August and Siobhan said this proved a positive move, with over 50 visitors attending last Sunday alone.
She attributed the increase in visitors to a number of factors, including the strong sterling rate - which is attracting many tourists from Northern Ireland - local festivals, the sightings of dolphins and basking sharks along the coast as well as the peninsula being part of the Wild Atlantic Way.
“There is a huge drive by Failte Ireland to promote the Wild Atlantic Way and this area is a massive part of this,” she said.
One of the main areas of promotion is in France, with a strong televised marketing campaign and Siobhan said this is reflected in the visitors coming to the peninsula.
She said: “We have seen a lot of people from France. That’s one of our strongest increases. I was speaking with Michael Diver at Tullyarvan Mill and he said too that he has had many French visitors.
“We have also had a lot of people visiting in camper vans and we have many facilities for them here in Inishowen. This is how many visitors from Europe travel around and that’s a boost for her too.”
Siobhan said many people who visit their offices enquire about visiting Malin Head but are also impressed all the other attractions and facilities available.
She added that this then leads to many of them staying longer than intended.
She said: “We get people in who tell us they’re staying a day and then come back to say they stayed longer as there’s just so much to see and do. That’s fantastic.”
Siobhan said all involved in Inishowen Tourism, which itself has been garnering rave reviews from users on sites such as Trip Advisor, are delighted to see the increase in visitors to the peninsula.
She said: “We’ve been really, really busy and it’s been great. We’re delighted to see it as it’s all a boost for the whole peninsula.”