SPIKE ISLAND PLACES SECOND AT THE WORLD TRAVEL AWARDS 2017

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SPIKE ISLAND PLACES SECOND AT THE WORLD TRAVEL AWARDS 2017 IN VIETNAM, AHEAD OF THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA AND MOUNT KILIMANJARO IN THE ‘WORLD’S LEADING TOURIST ATTRACTION’ CATEGORY.

Cork County Council attraction Spike Island has placed second at the World Travel Awards 2017, in a ceremony held in Vietnam for the global elite of the travel industry. The island was second behind overall winner Machu Picchu from a shortlist of 9 finalists, that also included Mount Kilimanjaro, the Great wall of China and the Burj Khalifa.

The island had previously won the title of ‘Europe’s Leading Tourist Attraction 2017’ at the European Gala held in St Petersburg, Russia, beating an extremely competitive field that included Buckingham Palace, the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona and the Coliseum of Rome. The island went forward to represent Europe and its placing effectively sees it named the world number 2 visitor attraction.

In attendance at the Gala World Final in Vietnam were Mayor of County Cork Declan Hurley, County Manager Tim Lucey and Divisional Manager Declan Daly. Mayor of County Cork Declan Hurley expressed his delight at the islands placing and overall success since its reopening in June 2016. “The redevelopment of the island has been carried out to a very high standard with several visitor attractions added, as well as a cafe and island walkways”. “Cork County Council and Failte Ireland backed the redevelopment of the island and these awards fully justify that decision”. “To have a world beating tourist attraction right on our doorstep is a huge bonus for County Cork and will no doubt prove a massive attraction for years to come”.

The award caps off an extraordinary 18 months for the island attraction which was used as a prison as recently as 2004. Responsibility for the island was handed over to Cork County Council in 2010 and a masterplan was developed that saw over 6 Million Euro invested by Cork County Council and Failte Ireland. The island reopened in June 2016 and it has welcomed over 45000 visitors in its first full year. It has also become the number one recommended thing to do in Cork on Tripadvisor, overtaking long term number one Fota Wildlife Park.

Also in attendance at the event was County Manager Tim Lucey who spoke of his delight at this and the other recognition the Island has received in 2017. “As well as winning Europe’s Leading tourist attraction and this excellent showing at the World finals, the Island has won a Chambers Ireland Excellence in Local Government Award in the Heritage and Built Environment category, as well as a Cork Business Award in 2017. Visitor numbers have increased significantly and the island is proving be a real highlight for visitors to Cork”.

Island Manager John Crotty said he believed the Islands success comes from its unique history, its Cork Harbour setting and the variety of ways to enjoy a visit to the island. “There really is something for everyone here. We have 1300 years of rich Irish history to tell, from a 6th century Monastery to a 18th century Fortress, the World’s Largest Island prison in the 1850’s to centuries of island homes. Visitors have the option of a guided tour or they can self explore our prison cells, military fortification and walk the beautiful outer island, so there is something for everyone, from naturists to history buffs and adventurers young and old!”.

Cork County Council aim to add more ferry options in 2018 to meet the rising demand, along with opening up the previously inaccessible Fortress Moat and adding further designated outer island walking trails, to cope with the growing visitor numbers.

The long term plan for the island is to redevelop the remaining unused large scale prison blocks and outer island, with suggestions for development including a National Aquarium and maritime center, a National Military Museum and providing accommodation on the island.