THE Pig â€˜n Porter tag rugby festival is set to bring home the bacon for Limerick hoteliers with occupancy levels running at close to full for the event.
Hoteliers are expecting a bumper weekend for the festival, with more than 70% of the expected 130 teams registered so far from outside the Limerick area for the Old Crescent based event, which runs next Saturday, July 14.
â€œIt is without doubt one of the most important weekends of the year from our perspective,â€ said Ivan Tuohy, spokesman, Limerick Hotels Association of the event, comfortably among the worldâ€™s biggest such competitions.
â€œMost hotels are full on the Saturday night with just a few rooms left for Friday night, which are filling up quickly. Itâ€™s a huge driver of business for the local hotel sector, and with strong bookings again this year it is a testament to the economic value and indeed, the great, fun atmosphere that this festival brings to the city,â€ he added.
Organisers recently revealed that some of the worldâ€™s top tag rugby players are to travel to Limerick to take part in the annual event, the eleventh successive year in operation.
Up to five teams are to travel all the way from Australia, while a large number from the UK and France are expected to take part in the event, organiser Padraic Oâ€™Connor explained.
â€œWe will show them around Limerick and it is very good for us to get them over here,â€ he said. â€œThe overseas element of the competition is really taking off and it is a good time to raise our profile and that of the city.â€
Helena Boatman from the Maldron Hotel praised the â€œatmosphere and sporting competition elementâ€ of the event, which because of the hotelâ€™s closeness to Rosbrien â€œhas provided us year on year with increased room sales and many return guestsâ€.
â€œWe would like to wish everyone competing this year the best of luck and continued success to the Festival itself for many years to come,â€ she added.
The 2012 Pig â€˜n Porter kicks off with a welcome party and registration at Jerry Flanneryâ€™s Bar in the city on Friday night, July 13.
See www.pignporter.com for a full schedule of events.