Lighthouse visitor '18 figures soar
The number of international visitors booking and enjoying a tour of Hook Lighthouse increased by dramatically during 2018, with a total increase of 6 per cent in visitors recorded last year.
More than 50,000 people enjoyed a guided tour of Hook Lighthouse during the year, with 262,374 people enjoying a visit to the Hook Lighthouse Visitor Centre and café - a figure that also increased; up by 5.5 per cent compared to 2017.
Hook Lighthouse Manager Ann Waters said: 'We are delighted with another positive growth year for Hook Lighthouse, reaching and exceeding the momentous number of 50,000 visitors purchasing tickets to access to the lighthouse tower is a real milestone. We also have a great growth in overall visitor numbers to the lighthouse and café.'
Ms Waters said many of the visitors are attracted by the robust festivals and events schedule. 'To this end we have concentrated on really upping our offering in the café with a brand new brunch menu and a full day long menu with great focus on local and artisan food producers and we know this has been a real hit.' During 2018 Hook Lighthouse was the only Irish tourism attraction short-listed and commended at the British Guild of Travel Writers World Tourism Awards. The attraction is also currently short-listed for 'Ireland's Favourite Local Attraction' category in the Irish Independent Reader Travel Awards 2019, while the newly developed sunset tour and food experience is presently in the top five shortlist for the 'Best Food and Beverage Experience' category in the Fáilte Ireland Irish Tourism Industry Awards 2019.
71 per cent of visitors to Hook Lighthouse are from all across Ireland with 29 per cent arriving to tour the lighthouse from all across the world. The number of visitors from America overtook the UK for the first time last year at 9 per cent, 7 per cent of visitors were from the UK with 10 per cent from the rest of Europe and the remaining 3 per cent from the rest of the world. 'We have been working very strategically on growing the international visitor numbers along with tours and groups to Hook Lighthouse. It is broadly known that the economic contribution from these market segments is much higher, not only for Hook Lighthouse but for the broader region. Growing the contribution from the international market to almost 30 per cent is a huge success and we are incredibly proud of all of the team for their hard work in this area, the result has been a growth in tour income of 7 per cent.'
In 2019 Hook Lighthouse has some major plans to further grow the business and the visitor experience at the attraction. A brand new Eco Education Station will be officially opened in early summer, a new play area will also be opened and a host of festivals and events will be on offer year-round along with later opening hours for the months of July and August.