'Staycationers' soften pandemic blow for Fota Wildlife Park

'Staycationers' Soften Pandemic Blow For Fota Wildlife Park 'Staycationers' Soften Pandemic Blow For Fota Wildlife Park
Fota Wildlife Park enjoyed its busiest ever June and September months since it opened in 1983
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Gordon Deegan

‘Staycationers’ and State grants last year helped Fota Wildlife Park in Cork to record a 58% increase in operating profits to €642,326.

The visitor attraction’s annual accounts confirms that Fota Wildlife Park during its pandemic hit year, it enjoyed its busiest ever months for visitors for June and September since it opened in 1983.

The record visitor totals for those months ensured that the drop in income due to Covid-19 enforced closures and restrictions was down only 15% or €837,826 from €5.56 million to €4.72 million.

The €4.72 million in income was made up of gate receipts, donations, state grants, retail and deposit income.


The total number of visitors to Fota Wildlife Park for the year 2020 was 384,901 compared to 462,047 visitors for the year 2019 - a decline of 17%.

The number of foreign tourists during the months of July and August in 2020 constituted 5% of the total visitors to the Wildlife Park during that time compared to tourists making up 16% of total visitors during the Summer months of 2019.


The directors state that the drop in overseas visitors “was more than compensated by staycation visitors”.

They state that a Behaviour & Attitudes survey conducted in the Wildlife Park during the summer of 2020 found that more than half of those visitors to Fota who were ‘holidaying in the area’ stayed in hotel accommodation "and this was of great benefit to the hotels in Cork and their survival through the summer of Covid 2020”.

Food and veterinary care

Fota Wildlife Park spends on average €44,000 a month on the food and veterinary care for the 1,350 animals representing the 135 species at Fota Wildlife Park and was this year hit by a further Covid-19 enforced closure before re-opening in April of this year.

Fota Wildlife Park, a not-for-profit organisation, is part of the Zoological Society of Ireland and is set on the scenic Fota Island in the heart of Cork Harbour.

Numbers employed by Fota Wildlife reduced from 61 to 57 as wage costs reduced from €2.035 million to €1.8 million.

Fota Wildlife also received €334,339 in Government wage subsidy supports.

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