**Fantastic news for tourism in the West of Ireland**

Ryanair have announced that they will be operating direct flights from Ireland West Knock Airport to and from Cologne, Germany every Tuesday and Saturday next Summer. The service will commence June 1st and will conclude at the end of September 2019.  This is fantastic news for tourism in the west and North West regions of Ireland as it provides the only direct access to the West Coast from the North Rhine-Westphalia region.

Tourists can choose from a host of Sligo Food Trail experiences and our members: https://sligofoodtrail.ie/experiences-in-german/

Germany is the third largest tourism market for Ireland with over 650 000 people visiting the Island in 2018, with 50% of these German holiday makers visiting the West and North-West during their stay. This new service means there will be 10,000 additional seats to and from Germany in summer 2019 with 5000 people potentially visiting the area, generating a spend in excess of 3 million euro for the West and North West. The new initiative will bring more choice to German Holidaymakers and will provide a direct route to the Heart of The Wild Atlantic Way, growing this market even more.

Joe Gilmore, Managing Director, Ireland West Airport stated “We thank Ryanair for their continued support and their vote of confidence in the airport with this new service and we look forward to working with both Ryanair and Tourism Ireland in promoting the new route and encourage the tourism providers in the region to get behind the new service to ensure it’s a success”. 2018 will be a record year for tourists coming from Germany, with CSO figures showing that there were nearly 560000 German tourist arrivals between January and August. This is an increase of +21% from the same period in 2017.