Fine Gael TD for Kildare North, Anthony Lawlor, welcomes the report issued by Punchestown Racecourse, in conjunction with NUIM, yesterday (Wednesday 1st February) outlining how a staggering €60 million was generated by the 2011 Irish National Hunt Punchestown Festival, with in excess of €8 million spent on attire alone.

“A staggering €7 million was spent by female attendees on hats, dresses, coats, shoes and accessories in 2011. Almost half of the visitors attending the Festival were female and on average spent €196 preparing for the day. It is clear that the draw of the Best Dressed Lady Award entices women to indulge in high glamour in order to look the part for the races. Of course the male attendees are also going to extra lengths to compete with their female counterparts as they spent in excess of €1 million on racing attire. This is very welcomed news for the local shops and boutiques who reap the benefits of such spending.

“It is also apparent that attending the Irish National Hunt Festival has become quite the social event for the younger generation. Over half of all those who attended the races were under the age of 44, with almost 30% falling within the 18-34 age bracket.

“I am encouraged by the results of today’s report as it suggests that Punchestown, not only attracts an international audience (at 20% of the total number of visitors) but is also increasingly encompassing the younger generation, ensuring the continuing success of the Festival in the years to come. The revenue generated both within and outside the racecourse can only be of benefit to the local economy” concluded Anthony Lawlor TD.