Tourist attraction Tayto Park is setting its sights on Northern Irleand this year as it emerged that visitors from the province made up a quarter of last year’s total.
As the park, just north of Dublin, re-opens for 2017 this weekend, owner Raymond Coyle said he was confident that better cross border links would help more visitors from the province as it aims for another record year.
As one of the most popular attractions on the island of Ireland, Tayto Park visitor numbers have risen year on year from 330,000 in 2011 to 762,351 in 2016, which means that almost 200,000 thrill seekers from Northern Ireland visited the park last year.
Now Tayto Park is gearing up for its biggest season yet as it opens its gates again with the promise of new rides and attractions.
“Since we first opened our doors in November 2010, the Northern Ireland market has become increasingly important to us with almost 200,000 visitors travelling from the north last year alone,” said Mr Coyle.
“Last year was a record year for Tayto Park which is very encouraging as we get ready to open our gates to the public once again.
“We are confident that this season will be our biggest and best yet and have invested heavily in new rides and attractions that we’re sure will be a big hit with customers from across Ireland.”
Mr Coyle said that the company was investing €9 million (circa £7.7m) in the park this year, with a further €17m (£14.7m) already ear-marked for 2018.
As well as being home to Europe’s largest wooden roller coaster, the Cu Chulainn, the park is opening a major water ride, dubbed the Viking Voyage, which will also include a Viking village.
The buinessman was owner of the Tayto crisp brand in the Republic until 2015 and formally resinged from the business earlier this year.