Fota Wildlife Park is delighted to announce that their visitor numbers are up 6% for the first half of 2010; this comes on the back of the latest Failte Ireland top 10 visitor attraction numbers which put the park up three places to 6th in 2009.
With the majority of tourist attractions finding it hard over the last two year the news from Fota Wildlife Park is a positive one with the park increasing its overall number in 2009 by 16,000 visitors to 347,231 and by 10,320 visitors to 171,534 for the first 6 months of this year. Commenting on the figures Mr. Sean McKeown, newly appointed Director of Fota Wildlife Park said, "I am delighted that park is increasing its numbers year on year beating the national trend, I believe there is a very exciting future ahead for the park which will be of huge benefit to tourism in Cork".
Sean McKeown took over as Director in the park in April of this year but it's a case of ‘back to the future' as Sean was the original director of the park back in 1983 when it first opened its doors to the public. Sean spent 13 years as the parks Director before moving to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates where he ran H.E. Sheikh Butti Maktoums Wildlife Centre.
Speaking about his appointment Sean added "this park means a lot to me so when I saw the position advertised late last year I felt it was the right time to go back and finish what I started as the park has huge potential and is a fantastic facility." His appointment comes at a very exciting time in the parks history with a new entrance area near completion; this area will include a new gift shop, cafe, administration building, ticket booths, children's playground and a new animal exhibit.
The new development is the first of its kind in 27 years and is costing in the region of €4.2 million, funded from accumulated resources and bank borrowing. The park which is a registered charity is hoping that the project will help secure funding in the future to develop the park into one of Europe's finest wildlife parks.
Fota Wildlife Park is now Cork's number 1 visitor attraction, having jumped ahead of Blarney Castle for the first time in its history. The jump in visitor numbers at the park has been put down to a number of factors including a very popular events calendar, animals births at the park and the baby boom in Ireland which saw an increase of 19% in the number of under 3's visiting the park in 2009.
Fota Wildlife Park is also performing well in the online world; it is currently the number one wildlife park on Facebook with 6,655 fans. The park has also had a huge increase in visitors to www.fotawildlfe.ie so far in 2010, up from 43,038 to 93,126 visits an overall increase of 116% on 2009.