Derry City and Strabane District Council has notched up a further award at the North West Business Awards which took place at the weekend for its 2016 Foyle Maritime Festival that took place over nine days in the city, in July 2016.
Two Council festivals had been nominated under the ‘Best Tourism Event or Initiative’ category at the awards – the Foyle Maritime Festival and Year of Food and Drink Festival. The Foyle Maritime Festival, clinched the top spot, having been praised for developing the visitor and tourism economy of the North West.
The festival attracted thousands of people to the banks of the River Foyle from 9th to 17th July in 2016 and had previously won the Best Event/Festival Experience title at the prestigious 2015 Northern Ireland Tourism NITA Awards for its 2014 festival.
The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Hilary McClintock said, “Who could ever forget the atmosphere throughout the city and district last July as we welcomed the international Clipper 2015-16 Round the World Yacht Race crew to the city and saw our riverfront transformed with music, food and market stalls over the nine days of the festival. I am delighted the Foyle Maritime Festival has been recognised with this award. A lot of planning and hard work had gone into the events and set up. Council staff, our volunteers, local business, residents and the Clipper Race crew and supporters should all celebrate this award as it is thanks to you that we are able to bring such events to the city and district.
“The bi-annual festival has enabled Council to work with key stakeholders to drive the visitor and tourism economy of the North West forward, attracting both local and global audiences to the city and region. In 2016 the nine-day Foyle Maritime Festival was hugely successful. Built around the Clipper Race stopover, it attracted a record footfall of 163,576 attendees with international visitors accounting for as much as thirty per cent of those who visited the city, a wonderful achievement for us all. My congratulations to all involved.”
Over 22,096 bed nights were purchased during the festival, establishing July 2016 as the best performing month for room sales ever recorded in the city. Evaluations reported a record breaking £3.5 million boost to the local economy during the festival with an average return on investment of £2.36 for every £1 invested by Derry City and Strabane District Council and their festival partners.
Helena Hasson, Clipper Race Project Officer at Derry City and Strabane District Council added, “The Clipper Race ‘LegenDerry’ stopover reached iconic status in 2015-16. The international crews have spoken widely about the Derry~Londonderry stopover, deeming it one of most anticipated host ports in the entire race across the world, so much so that Leg 8 of the race which included the Foyle port was one of the first to sell out.
“On news of the award, Clipper Race CEO William Ward said: Congratulations to everyone in Derry-Londonderry who made the festival such a success. The festival provides an exciting programme of diverse events in celebration of Clipper Race crew and their adventurous spirit, which is driven by the generous spirit of the city.
“Through this partnership over the past six years, tourism has grown in the region which is a fantastic example of how the race and global destinations can work together to boost economy in a region.
“It was such a fantastic event and I’m pleased to confirm that plans are currently underway for the July 2018 Foyle Maritime Festival, when the city will act as a host port in the Clipper Race for the fourth consecutive time.”
The North West Business Awards is a recognition and celebration of the achievements of businesses in the North West region. The awards which were held at the Everglades Hotel on Friday 19th May and were organised by Londonderry Chamber of Commerce and City Centre Initiative in association with Bank of Ireland.
For further details on forthcoming Council events visit www.derrystrabane.com