Tourism boost for the west of Ireland as new service from Cologne to IWAK launched

Passengers show their delight following the inaugural Ryanair flight from Cologne to Ireland West Airport Knock. Greeting the passengers on their arrival were Minister for Community Development Michael Ring TD, Mayo Co Council Cathaoirleach Cllr Blackie Gavin, Sligo Co Council CE Ciaran Hayes, Mayo Co Council CE, Peter Hynes, Airport Manager Joe Gilmore and Donegal Head of Tourism Barney McLaughlin. Photo: Henry Wills.

Passengers show their delight following the inaugural Ryanair flight from Cologne to Ireland West Airport Knock. Greeting the passengers on their arrival were Minister for Community Development Michael Ring TD, Mayo Co Council Cathaoirleach Cllr Blackie Gavin, Sligo Co Council CE Ciaran Hayes, Mayo Co Council CE, Peter Hynes, Airport Manager Joe Gilmore and Donegal Head of Tourism Barney McLaughlin. Photo: Henry Wills.

Ireland West Airport has warmly welcomed the first scheduled service from Cologne in Germany via Ryanair which took place last week.

Between June and September, Ryanair will operate direct flights to and from Cologne every Tuesday and Saturday. Cologne is Germany’s fourth largest city and the largest city of the State of North Rhine–Westphalia.

Centred on the left bank of the Rhine, Cologne is regarded as Germany’s capital of carnivals, reflecting the lifestyle of its inhabitants, who make Cologne the incredibly energetic spot that it is. Cologne is ideally located just an hours train journey from Frankfurt and only 90 minutes from Brussels, providing easy onward travel options for visitors.

This new service is a major boost for tourism in the West and North West regions of Ireland as it provides the only direct access to the West Coast from the North Rhine-Westphalia region. Germany is the third-largest market for tourism to the island of Ireland with a record 2018 year of over 650,000 German visitors with 50 per cent of German holidaymakers visiting the West and North West of Ireland during their stay.

On hand to greet arriving passengers were representatives from the Gourmet Greenway Food Trail who provided samples of delicious locally produced cuisines. The food trail has been devised by the Mulranny Park Hotel, in association with Mayo food producers, to showcase the wonderful artisan food in the vicinities of Mulranny, Newport, Westport and Achill.

Accompanying passengers on the first flight from Cologne were representatives from some of Germany's biggest media organisations, who will be taking part in a three-day familiarisation trip around the West and North West of Ireland during their stay.

Speaking at the launch, Joe Gilmore, Managing Director, Ireland West Airport, said: "We are delighted to welcome the first service from Cologne with Ryanair today. German holidaymakers are Ireland’s most active visitors, exploring our historical sites and engaging in multiple events/activities such as hill walking and hiking while on the island, which ties in perfectly with the airport's location as the Western gateway to the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands.

"We thank Ryanair for their continued support and their vote of confidence in the airport and we hope the service will attract the full support of all in the region as it will require even greater effort on all our behalf to ensure the route is a success and is maintained for the longer term and can lead to further expansion into Germany and beyond in the coming years."

Welcoming the first German visitors to touch down, Michael Ring, Minister for Rural & Community Development, said: "Today brings more good news for Irish tourism as we welcome German visitors to the West of Ireland with Ryanair on their first flight from Cologne. Germany is the third-largest market for tourism to Ireland with over 300,000 Germans visiting the West and North West of the country annually.

"This new direct service will provide a major tourism boost for the region as it brings visitors to the heart of the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands. For regional Ireland, the importance of convenient, direct, non-stop flights cannot be overstated – they are absolutely critical to achieving growth in inbound tourism for rural Ireland."

For further airport information log onto www.irelandwestairport.com and for information on fares and to book flights log onto www.ryanair.com

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