Connacht Rugby won one of the top prizes at the 2011 Galway Chamber President’s Dinner & Business Awards. The award for Arts, Sports & Culture was bestowed on the province in recognition of the contribution to the local economy in Galway over the last number of years.
Commercial Manager Fiona Keys was presented with the award on behalf of Connacht Rugby at the exclusive awards ceremony in the Clayton Hotel, Ballybrit on Saturday night.
The Galway Chamber recognised the importance of Connacht Rugby to the local economy, acknowledging the fact that in the past year the province employed over 70 people and contributed nearly €;3 million to the economy in wages.
With 16 teams visiting Galway last year, over 650 beds were filled by travelling squads while their supporters booked between 1,000 and 2,000 hotel rooms.
For Connacht’s lucrative interprovincial clashes, Galway city saw an increase of over 4,000 day trippers with visiting fans spending in the region of €;1.35 million on food and beverages, whilst the headline figure showed that Connacht Rugby contributed approximately €;6 million to the Galway economy.
With Connacht competing in the Heineken Cup for the first time this season, there will be an extra boost in visitors to the province.
Connacht welcome French giants Toulouse on November 19 and with the Sportsground already sold out and many more travelling to Galway to sample the atmosphere, the city is set for a tourism bonanza.
December and January will see Aviva Premiership giants Harlequins and Gloucester visiting the Galway venue as Europe’s elite cup competition continues in the West.
Speaking about the award, Connacht Rugby CEO Gerry Kelly said: “We’re delighted to be presented with this award. It recognises the hard work that has been done both on and off the pitch at Connacht Rugby and we look forward to continuing to drive the economy in the region for many years to come.
“This recognition also acknowledges the work of our commercial and marketing team led by Fiona Keys.
“The Galway Chamber work very hard with the local business to maintain the city as a vibrant hub of tourism and culture and we are very pleased to play an active role in helping to achieve this.
“I’d like to pay special tribute to the businesses across the province who have supported us over the years. This vital support, be they sponsors, suppliers or loyal fans, enables us to continue to represent the province across Europe.”