Autumn (5); and Laura Haymes, at the spectacular fireworks display which marked the official launch of Center Parcs Longford Forest on Friday evening last Picture: Naoise Culhane
It may have taken over four years to bring on stream but Center Parcs chiefs signalled their long awaited arrival to Co Longford this week with the simple yet emphatic message: “We are here to stay”.
The 395 acre purpose built holiday resort which cost €233m to build opened its doors on Monday to its first batch of paying visitors and in so doing set the seal on the single largest private investment in the history of Irish tourism.
The chief protagonist behind the brand's first venture outside of the UK, CEO Martin Dalby said its finished product was not just “iconic” but would put “Longford clearly on the map”.
He said: “This is a long term investment in quality tourism for the Irish family market. It will revitalise the local economy and community of Ballymahon and Longford and we will continue to work with the local community to ensure we remain good neighbours.”
Likening the firm’s Longford Forest to a “small town,” Mr Dalby remained upbeat as to Center Parcs’ long term sustainability.
The firm, he added, expected 70% of visitors to come from the domestic market, 20% from Northern Ireland and 10% from the UK.