Hodson Bay Hotel Owners Planning To Develop Eco-Tourism Resort At Lough Ree
The owners of the Hodson Bay Hotel near Athlone are planning to develop an eco-tourism resort at Lough Ree, on Co. Roscommon's Yewpoint peninsula.
As reported by The Irish Times, the 145-acre Yewpoint peninsula is a specially protected conservation area, and it was purchased by the Hodson Bay group using a special purpose vehicle called New Island Resorts that is backed by outside investors.
The acquisition reportedly also included the small islands Horse Island and Robin Island.
The group has opened several walking trails on the peninsula, and its longer-term plan for the land reportedly is to construct small eco-cabin villages on it.
According to The Irish Times, cars will be banned from the planned eco-cabin villages, which will be accessible via golf buggies only, and Waterways Ireland, Fáilte Ireland and Roscommon County Council are reportedly also examining the possibility of developing a new marina on Yewpoint peninsula, as well as a floating boardwalk.
The peninsula's eco-tourism potential was reportedly considered as part of a development masterplan for the Shannon region that was announced earlier this year, and environmental advisory firm SLR Consulting reportedly has also been commissioned to assess what could be done with the peninsula.
According to The Irish Times, it is believed that New Island Resorts paid approximately €1 million for the peninsula, and the development of the planned eco-tourism resort will require additional more capital, and is likely to be carried out in several stages, depending on the implementation of the Shannon plan and the limitations that may be attached to planning permission.
The peninsula includes an oak forest and 100 acres of meadowland, and is home to a lot of wildlife.
Hodson Bay Group Chairman Statements
The Irish Times quotes Hodson Bay group chairman John O'Sullivan as saying, "I'm delighted. I never thought that piece of land would fall into our hands at all."
O'Sullivan reportedly said that he is aiming to transform the peninsula into Ireland's top eco-tourism resort.
The Irish Times quotes O'Sullivan as saying, "It all depends on what is deemed acceptable for the area under the master plan. But the minute we know what is allowed, we will proceed. You would do it in steps. You might do, say, 10 eco-cabins in the first phase. Then you’d go again, and build it up from there."
While the peninsula is owned by New Island Resorts at present, O'Sullivan reportedly said that he is hopeful that it will eventually be purchased by the Hodson Bay group, which, according to The Irish Times, had annual sales of approximately €32 million before the COVID-19 pandemic, not including its Hyatt hotel in Dublin, which only traded for a few months before the pandemic began.
O'Sullivan reportedly also said that the Hodson Bay group is preparing for a busy summer of domestic tourism at its midlands and west of Ireland hotels, and reportedly stated, "The problem this year is Dublin."
Hodson Bay Group Portfolio
The Hodson Bay group's portfolio also includes the Sheraton Athlone Hotel and the Galway Bay Hotel.
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