25 February 2017
The English Market is Ireland’s oldest indoor food market and has become increasingly popular as a visitor attraction in Cork City Centre. As a fresh food market, a heritage building, civic and meeting place, its unique offering and unmistakable atmosphere has made it world famous among customers and visitors alike and as a result is attracting a huge number of tourists.
This increase in tourism is extremely positive and tour groups are very much welcome by The English Market however with a greater demand and footfall of tourists and groups visiting the market, and a recent survey carried out among approximately 1,000 customers and tour groups, it is clear the problem of overcrowding and the potential for subsequent health and safety issues has become a major concern for everyone.
Another considerable problem is that the day-to-day trading and running of The English Market is being side-lined in order to accommodate large tour groups and there is a very real threat that the everyday trading and the true essence of The English Market will be lost if these problems are not addressed.
With this in mind and in the interest of preserving the market for all who use and work within it, new measures will be soon be introduced to improve and structure how and when group tours operate within the world-famous market.
From March 1st, tour operators will be required to register on an annual basis with Market Management. Large tour groups will be required to split into smaller groups as they make their way through the market and all tour groups will be required to book in advance. This will help traffic flow within the market and alleviate health and safety concerns.
These new procedures will provide a more controlled environment and will also allow Market Management to supply free information packs to all registered tour guides and operators to ensure accurate and up-to-date information is provided to all tourists.
Pat O’Connell, Chairperson of the English Market Traders Committee stated: “We have a very unique offering here in The English Market and it’s important that everyone who visits gets to experience the true essence of the market - the atmosphere, the banter, the rapport, the quality food, knowledge of the traders etc. If we continue as we are and with the tourist numbers continuing to rise, the day-to-day running of the market will be affected and the livelihood of traders could be jeopardy.”
He continued: “We have carefully and sensitively researched and considered how, and what, we can do to improve the everyday running of the market and how we can preserve it as the world-famous attraction that it is. We looked at how similar organisations worldwide operate in order to accommodate large numbers and I have no doubt these simple measures will make a huge difference and help us to preserve what The English Market is all about. A more organised environment will benefit everyone.”
It is also hoped that these new procedures will help to maintain close communication between The English Market and visiting tour companies.
Órla Lannin, The English Market Manager stated: “We hope with these procedures in place, we will be able to accommodate all visitors in a positive and more organised approach to ensure The English Market can continue to be enjoyed as a working food market and a friendly and welcoming place for both visitors and customers. Overcrowding is an issue that has been recurring over the last few years and we really need to do something about it before it permanently affects the market. As the tourist numbers rise we must also ensure that the tourists are getting up-to-date and accurate information about the market’s history and heritage and all it has to offer. We have a wonderful market here for everyone to enjoy so it's important we protect it and ensure everyone who visits gets to experience it in a positive and enjoyable manner.”