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Foyle Maritime Festival gets thumbs up

06 July 2018

As Derry~Londonderry prepares to welcome the return of the Clipper Round the World Race yachts for the Foyle Maritime Festival on 14-22 July, local business and tourism chiefs have stepped up to show their support for the festival and to encourage the public to come along and enjoy the celebrations.

Odhran Dunne, General Manager with Visit Derry says the Foyle Maritime Festival and the return of the Clipper yachts is hugely significant in terms of tourism for the city and a huge coup in assisting them market and promote the city to an international audience.

He says: “The festival is an opportunity for the city and region to showcase our greatest tourism assets - our unique history, culture and above all the friendliness of the people on an international stage.  It is a great family friendly event and builds our reputation as one of Ireland’s top festival cities. This year’s festival will attract tens of thousands of visitors to the region, both day-trippers and overnight visitors, and is set to provide a welcome economic boost to the local economy, and with the Foyle Cup this year coinciding with the Festival it promises to be a fantastic spectacle for all those visiting the city.”

“The city enjoys a peak in demand for overnight accommodation during the Festival and this provides a great opportunity for the bars, restaurants, retail, attractions and tour providers to encourage increased visitor spend which supports a sustainable tourism economy. Visit Derry looks forward to extending a warm welcome to all those attending this year’s festival which is sure to be an experience which will leave a lasting impression on all our visitors.”

Speaking from a business perspective, Jennifer McKeever, President of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce says the business community is really looking forward to the Foyle Maritime Festival and giving a big warm welcome to all the competitors in the Clipper Race.

“The Foyle Maritime Festival is a great showcase of everything that is good about this city. It profiles our city and region to a global audience, encourages our businesses to step up to cater for record numbers of visitors and day trippers and encourages pride amongst our communities who come out and support the festival and enjoy the celebrations. The city is delighted to extend its hand of friendship to family, friends and guests from all over the world that will be joining us for in the city for the festival.”

“We all hold fabulous memories of the previous three Maritime festivals and I know this one is going to bigger and even more spectacular than ever. This is a showcase event for our city and region and I know once again that the people of the region will be the shining stars,” she added. 

Jim Roddy, manager with the City Centre Initiative says there is palpable excitement in the City ahead of the arrival of the Clipper yachts and the Foyle Maritime Festival.

“During this festival we will be enjoying the spectacle of the Clipper boats being berthed in the city alongside tall ships, naval vessels and resident and visiting yachts and boats. Thousands are expected to come into our city centre during the festival and enjoy a host of events on the River Foyle and along the riverfront. It’s a fabulous opportunity for both our daytime and night time economies as our visitors relax and enjoy the unique Derry welcome.”

Fergal Rafferty, manager with the Foyleside Shopping Centre is also delighted to welcome back maritime visitors to the City in 2018. “This event has attracted tens of thousands of visitors to our city centre and on each occasion they have been overwhelmed by the special hospitality that has been extended throughout the festival. As a key stakeholder in the city centre this type of event is invaluable to our global tourism and destination offer and has had a significant positive impact on our local economy. I look forward in anticipation to this year’s festival which promises to surpass previous events.”

Claire Gormley events manager with the Bishop’s Gate Hotel is looking forward to another successful festival. The hotel opened just weeks after the 2016 festival and their participation in the Adopt a Boat programme proved hugely successful.

“The festival is great in raising awareness of our hotel brand and showcasing our offering and the wider city and region to a wide audience. Through the Adopt A Boat Scheme we are able to work directly with crew members and share their experience with friends and family. We have had a lot of interest this year from both crew and their friends who are seeking accommodation during their visit to the city and are looking forward to a really busy period.

Ronan Stewart from RoCo, located along the riverfront is also looking forward to a hugely successful period. The company has hugely benefited from the festival in the past with their premises being used by the Clipper Race Ventures communications team and Radio Foyle as their headquarters for the festival. This year their Limeleaf coffee shop is taking part in the Seafood trail with a bespoke Oyster Bar.

He says: “It’s easily the best festival in the city’s events calendar, and Council really do – pardon the pun – push the boat out with this festival and from what I hear this year’s is going to be bigger and better and we are looking forward to welcoming customers to our premises throughout the festival. Fingers crossed the weather stays fine and we can all enjoy it and really showcase our riverfront.”

The Foyle Maritime Festival is supported by Tourism Northern Ireland, Foyle Port, Loughs Agency, DuPont Kevlar, Diageo, NW Regional College and Translink.

For further information on the Foyle Maritime Festival and a full programme of events visit www.foylemaritimefestival.com or you can follow us on Facebook at  www.facebook.com/foylemaritimefestival  and on Twitter @Foylemaritime