94% of visitors to Waterford’s Greenway rate it very positively, according to a comprehensive new report on Ireland’s longest off-road trail.
The study was commissioned by Waterford Council to understand more about the use and impact of the Greenway, which opened in March of this year.
Of the 1,177 Greenway users surveyed, almost two thirds came from within Waterford and only 2% gave addresses from outside the State.
The majority visiting from outside Waterford paid for accommodation and almost one in five visitors stayed four nights or more.
Dungarvan is benefitting most with 45% of visitors choosing to stay there as opposed to 22% in the City and 29% elsewhere in the County.
Of those interviewed for the report, 94% said their overall perception of the Greenway was either excellent or good. Two thirds or 66%, classed the conduct of other Greenway users as either excellent or good. Almost 8 out of 10 rated safety on the trail as either excellent or good.
Asked what people like most about the Greenway, 70% liked the scenery and nature; 51% liked being away from traffic, while more than a third said it was peaceful and quiet. Over one in five were most interested in features such as the Greenway’s tunnel and viaducts, while 18% said its outstanding feature was the friendliness of those using it. And 41% of respondents could think of absolutely nothing they disliked about it.
The Greenway is used most by families and older people, the study also found.
Waterford City and County Council Chief Executive, Michael Walsh, said the survey results were very encouraging. “Developing the Greenway was a significant but a very worthwhile investment that is having a major economic and social impact across our County, not just during the peak tourist months but right throughout the year.
Mayor of Waterford City & County, Cllr. Pat Nugent, said: “It is heartening to see so many local people using our Greenway and particularly to note that 15% of respondents say they use it daily. It’s great to see walking, cycling, jogging and other clubs spring up and more people than ever are exercising on it, particularly families.
“It’s encouraging to see the Greenway being used by so many people of all ages throughout the week and at weekends. We look forward to its continued success and to welcoming even more visitors to Waterford City and County in 2018 and beyond.”
Johnny Brunnock, Trails Officer with Waterford City and County Council said a new “Greenway Community” has evolved since it officially opened earlier this year. “It’s extremely encouraging to see the Greenway being used for so many purposes by so many age groups right throughout the year. People take great pride in it and it has given communities all along the route a completely new lease of life – both in terms of the buzz and excitement that more visitors to the area is creating but also, many locals are getting active, getting out and meeting people along the way. It truly has been a win/win for Waterford and the entire region.”