Athlone Town Mayor, Cllr. Aengus O’Rourke, has lauded the cohesive work of Destination Athlone as a noticeable influx of Irish visitors descend upon the Midlands growth town to enjoy a staycation experience in the heart of Ireland.
“Staycations have been very popular this year given the travel restrictions in place. Athlone has performed extremely well with an obvious influx of Irish visitors to the town staying in our wonderful hotels and sampling the delights of the town.
“Athlone has successfully carved a reputation for itself in recent years as a town and a destination ‘worth visiting’ and, thankfully that ‘worth visiting’ draw has a number of very compelling aspects to it.
“Firstly our location in the heart of the country makes us an easy place to access. Also, our accommodation base is unrivalled with great hotels and B&Bs from which to choose,” Cllr. O’Rourke asserted.
The Town Mayor noted the quality and diversity of Athlone’s restaurants which prove a major attraction for visitors to the town.
“A huge draw that we don’t often enough recognise or realise is our cuisine. Athlone leads the way in provincial Ireland for the diversity, choice and quality of our restaurants. I think, we, as locals take our restaurants in Athlone for granted at times. They are all so long established we expect them to be good every time and they are, but for the visitor to Athlone they are simply blown away by our restaurants and long may that continue,” the Town Mayor enthused.
A plethora of interests and activities are also key to attracting visitors to the heart of the country.
“The River Shannon, our excellent retail shopping, Bay Sports, the Viking Boat, Athlone Castle and Visitor Centre, Luan Gallery, the Old Rail Trail, the list of attractions abounds.
“Of course, we miss the pubs and the life they add to our town and while some are open and serving food, many of our landmark hostelries are unfortunately still closed. We all hope they return to business soon, they too are an integral part of our offering as a tourist destination and add great character to the town.
“Great credit must go to those who set and consistently deliver the high standards in our tourism and hospitality sector, right across this town.
“Huge credit must also go to Destination Athlone for the wonderful work they do marketing Athlone on the national stage. Destination Athlone have been running a major marketing campaign over recent months right across all the relevant platforms to include the traditional print media, all digital platforms, radio, TV and so forth.
“Led by Garry Walsh from the Hodson Bay Group, the marketing budget for July and August was €37,000. A large proportion of this comes from Westmeath County Council and Roscommon County Council with the hospitality sector contributing significantly also,” Cllr. O’Rourke concluded.