Local & Regional Tourism

In this post on community development, I wish to explore the potential tourism benefits of the Venue project looking specifically at the accessible market and the interests of the people who visit the area. The benefits from a social and creative perspective are documented in other sections of the site and also on The Venue’s main website.

We are lucky in Shannon to be surrounded by some of Ireland’s top tourist attractions. The town is centrally located along the Wild Atlantic Way and close by we have famed Irish attractions such as Bunratty Castle (+250k visitors/annum) and King Johns Castle in Limerick City, to name just a few.

The map below helps to illustrate some of the attractions in the local area and greater region.

Please enter your comments at the bottom of the page on any notable attractions in the area that should be included here.

Bunratty Castle

275,986 visitors (2011)

Cliffs of Moher

809,474 visitors (2011)



Shannon Airport




King Johns Castle

Kerry: Dingle, Tralee, Killarney

Shannon Airport

Shannon airport is the greatest tourism asset in the locality. Over 1.5 million people travel through the airport each year which provides a major opportunity for the area. In order to understand this potential, it’s important to get a greater understanding of the people who use the airport. In this graph, we have visualised the countries where passengers are either going to or coming from. As can be seen, passengers travelling to and from the UK is the dominant group, followed by passengers travelling to and from the US.

  • 45% UK
  • 24% USA
  • 30% (France, Germany, Poland, Portugal, Spain)

Importance of Art / Culture to visitors

Arts and Culture are particularly important past times and are of considerable interest to the passengers who go through the airport. We should be aiming to;

  • Encourage visitors to spend some time in the locality
  • Encourage visitors to spend more locally to stimulate local economy
  • Develop a tourism offering which can address the needs of regular visitors

We believe that “The Venue Arts Centre” would be the best way of doing this.

To offer some back-up on the importance of culture and arts to visitors of Shannon airport, we undertook some research that looked at the interest levels in the key passenger group which was the UK. As part of the research, we discovered a comprehensive UK government papers titled “International comparisons of public engagement in culture and sport”. Some of the more interesting and relevant findings from this report (click here) are illustrated in the slideshow across

Not just a one-time visitor attraction

Another key point about an arts centre is that it is an ever-evolving attraction. Unlike some other types of tourist attractions such as historical buildings or museums, an arts centre has a regular variety of different performances taking place. Many of the visitors who pass through Shannon airport are repeat users and pass through on a regular basis. The Venue would be a visitor attraction which would encourage people to perhaps visit multiple times. Its proximity to the airport also means the visitors can very easily time the next flight with performance times.

If you have ideas or comments on this article or The Venue please put them in the comments section below