‘Giro d’Italia to boost NI tourism’

Published Monday, 07 October 2013
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Arlene Foster has said the Giro d'Italia will give the Northern Ireland tourism industry a welcome boost.

‘Giro d’Italia to boost NI tourism’
Arlene Foster with Riccardo Taranto from Giro organiser RCS Sport. (© Presseye)

The race, one of the most prestigious and historic events on the world cycling calendar, will hold its opening stages in Belfast next year.

The 'Grande Partenza' - or Big Start - will take place in the city on 9 May 2014.

Competitors, who compete for the maglia rosa - or the pink jersey - will race through the streets of Belfast on day one.

Starting at the Titanic Building the route will take the riders out to Stormont and back to the finish line at Belfast City Hall.

On day two of the event the route will take competitors up through Antrim, Ballymena, Ballymoney to Bushmills and back through the iconic Glens of Antrim to Larne, Carrick and Whiteabbey to the finish line at city hall in a 218km endurance stage.

And on the third stage the cyclists will race from Armagh to Dublin before heading back to Italy to complete the 21-stage race on 1 June.

Northern Ireland's high-quality facilities, infrastructure and hospitality all set against the backdrop of our outstanding scenery, is putting us into a strong position in the global tourism and sports events industry.

Arlene Foster

Over 200 riders from more than 30 countries are set to line up in Belfast for the race, which is being held outside mainland Europe for the first time in its history.

The Stormont tourism minister travelled to Milan for the official launch of the race on Monday.

Ms Foster said: "The route will take in iconic locations in Northern Ireland, including Titanic Belfast, Parliament Buildings, the Giant's Causeway and the North Coast Road before moving on to the picturesque and historic setting of Armagh and onwards to Dublin.

"Having hosted this year's World Police and Fire Games, hailed as the best and friendliest in history, and having held last year's hugely successful Irish Open golf tournament our reputation for staging world-class sporting events is riding high," she added.

First organised in 1909 to promote the newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, the Giro gained prominence and is now one of the world's largest sporting events, with 12.5m live spectators over the three week event.

Everyone in Northern Ireland is looking forward to welcoming this hugely exciting competition to our shores and to embracing the passion, colour and atmosphere that comes with it.

Arlene Foster

The event is watched in 165 countries across all continents reaching, 125m households and a global accumulated audience of 775m people.

The minister said: "The organisers have designed exceptional opening stage routes in Northern Ireland and I am sure they will challenge the riders, entertain the thousands of spectators and showcase our tourism assets to the millions who will watch on television.

"I have no doubt that the worldwide media exposure the race will bring for Northern Ireland will encourage more visitors to come and explore Northern Ireland for themselves and try out our excellent cycling facilities," she added.

Welcoming the route announcement, Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy said: "I am delighted to support this hugely significant international sporting event.

"The commitment and resources from my department along with the support from many other quarters in Northern Ireland is set to create a sporting legacy that everyone can take pride in for many years to come."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
9 Comments
Adrian in Coleraine wrote (325 days ago):
@david usa ! Stick you to your own politics and check out your own countrys problems with bombings and mass shootings ! And before you talk about anything here look at the death and destruction your army causes around the world and by the way its only gonna get worse for the land of the free when your government has to pay the trillions back that they owe china ! Good luck tax payer lol
Ulysses32 in Belfast wrote (327 days ago):
Marc, grow up. Look at a map. See that tiny piece of muck to the left of Great Britain? It is Ireland. Incidentally, an island with two states is more accurate. Remember, the bits and pieces of Ulster that you are referring to has never been granted country status.
David in U.S.A. wrote (328 days ago):
The cheek of seeking outside investment, when there is protests taking place costing £50,000 a day to the taxpaying public. Northern Ireland and its politics is a disgrace and noone wants to genuinely do anything. Lets paint a beautiful picture how welcoming it is? If politicians want inward investment then why dont they stop their arguing about flags, protests and commemorations. Both sides dont want each others flags, or parades or commemorations, so ban all and have a civil society. Politicians are quick to comdemn the other sides actions but always find ways to justify their own "rights". Lets invite a man from America to help as politicians dont have the brains or hearts to talk about the people they were elected to represent. Does the people providing investment know where the money is going to "help" the economy? Decent comments fall on deaf ears...next!
Marc in Northern Ireland wrote (328 days ago):
@Jim, It is a Fact, just accept it. I am not talking about nationalities, I am talking about two separate countries, I understand people class themselves as Northern Irish or Irish, they must accept that there is two separate countries within this island.
Jim in Swords Ireland wrote (328 days ago):
@marc Get real tell that to the people in Derry, Sth Armagh, Sth Down, Tyrone etc do I need to go on that there is two countrys on this island and that they are not Irish from Ireland. Anyway this is about sport the Giro is coming to the whole of Ireland so enjoy it.
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