Longford Leader Comment: Céad míle fáilte, Center Parcs

Alan Walsh

Reporter:

Alan Walsh

Email:

alan.walsh@longfordleader.ie

Longford Leader Comment: Céad míle fáilte, Center Parcs

This weekend marks the grand opening of the €233m Center Parcs Longford Forest holiday village and the arrival of the first paying guests to the resort on Monday, July 29.

Located on a huge 395 acre site at Newcastle Wood, Ballymahon, the Center Parcs Longford Forest resort is the most significant tourism development ever in county Longford and one of the largest in the state.

Longford Forest is Center Parcs UK’s 6th short break destination, the first in Ireland, and the figures associated with the Ballymahon development are quite staggering.

750 jobs were created during the construction phase. 1,000 people will gain permanent employment.

There is capacity for up to 2,500 guests - that is equivalent to almost 5% of Longford’s entire population visiting and staying in the resort at any one time. Essentially a large town in itself.

The arrival of Center Parcs in Longford has the potential to be a game changer for the region and the immediate challenge is to enhance the tourism offering currently available and persuade Center Parcs visitors to extend their stay in Ballymahon and county Longford.

The projected number of visitors to Longford Forest annually is 250,000, which represents a five-fold increase on Longford’s current tourism numbers.

Center Parcs also estimate that the new holiday village will add approximately €32million to Irish GDP per annum and €1bn over the next 20 years.

Ever since Center Parcs formally announced their exciting plans on April 2, 2015 to construct Longford Forest, there has been a feel good factor.

And now that the dream of having a jewel in the Irish tourism crown on its doorstep has been realised, it is important that everyone in Longford works together to build a tourism brand and destination that will impress and encourage visitors to return.

Center Parcs reputation is second to none. They are the leading provider of high quality family short breaks in the UK, offering weekend or midweek breaks in a secluded and natural woodland setting.

Longford Forest boasts 466 lodges and 30 apartments, more than 100 indoor and outdoor activities, a spa, a range of restaurants, cafés and shops and the subtropical swimming paradise, with water rides and fun for all ages. Center Parcs CEO Martin Dalby promises us that it will be spectacular.

The people of Longford and Ballymahon are delighted to welcome Center Parcs and you can read more about the resort in our special commemorative supplement in this week’s Leader. Thanks to all businesses who placed advertisements and to those who contributed articles and photographs.

For more on the eagerly anticipated opening of Center Parcs Longford Forest, check out the Features and Business sections of the Longford Leader website www.longfordleader.ie

Céad míle fáilte Center Parcs and here’s to a very bright future for Longford Forest and the county’s tourism offering.

GALLERY | €233m Center Parcs Longford Forest holiday resort looks stunning ahead of grand opening weekend