Center Parcs 'a game changer' Taoiseach says

Center Parcs 'a game changer' Taoiseach says

Center Parcs has the potential to be a “game changer” for tourism in the midlands, according to the Taoiseach.

Speaking in Ballymahon on Friday afternoon as he officially marked completion of the €233m resort Center Parcs Longford Forest, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar paid tribute to Center Parcs for completing the project on time and on budget. He added that the entire region would benefit from the economic spin-off from the resort, which opens its doors at the end of July.

"It will bring unprecedented numbers of tourists to this beautiful part of the country and the €233 million investment which has been made by the company in Longford is almost certainly the largest in the county’s history.

“The creation of 1,000 new jobs will have a positive impact across the region and indeed it was a pleasure to meet some of the new employees here today. The Irish tourism industry has grown steadily in recent years and this addition to our tourism offering will ensure visitors get to experience a part of the country they may otherwise have missed.”

The Taoiseach said that Center Parcs’ success at completing the project on time and at recruiting 1000 mostly local employees “sends out a message” to other multi-national companies thinking of investing in Ireland.

“I say to them come to rural Ireland. It's the place where costs are lower, where infrastructure is good and getting better, where staff are available and you will be very much welcomed by the local community.”

Martin Dalby, chief executive of Center Parcs, praised all involved in the project and the support that the firm had received from the community.

Mr Dalby also thanked the government for its “ongoing and robust” support and singled out Minister Kevin 'Boxer' Moran saying that “without his help this development would not be here today”.

“Four years since we announced our plans to expand into Ireland, we all feel an enormous sense of pride and achievement to see the beautiful surroundings of Newcastle Wood transformed into Center Parcs Longford Forest and for Ireland’s families to finally have the opportunity to enjoy a unique forest resort experience.

“This is a great day for Center Parcs and I want to thank our construction partners Sisk and Roadbridge, for helping us to bring our vision to life. Our full team is now in place and are very excited about extending a warm Irish welcome to our guests. I would also like to thank the community for supporting our journey so far.”

Mary Buckley, Executive Director of IDA Ireland, said the project would provide a significant contribution to Ireland’s economy and tourism and leisure market.

Center Parcs' first Irish resort will be open 365 days a year. Guests can avail of over 100 indoor and outdoor activities, from nature activities and new adventures for little ones through to activities designed to be enjoyed togetherincluding the Subtropical Swinning Paradise, which the firm describes as the “jewel in the crown of the resort”.

The largest indoor water park in the country, it will be heated to 29.5c all year round.

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