Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 21 October 2014

North West 200 raked in £4.5m

Lucky escape: Guy Martin takes a tumble during today's NW 200 practice
Steve Plater setting the fastest time during Tuesday night's practice session at the Relentless North West 200
Ballymena's Darren Gilpin pictured at the Relentless International North West 2010

One of Northern Ireland's biggest sporting events generated around £4.5m for the economy, a report has claimed.

The North West 200 motorcycle race, which has been running for 71 years, attracted around 90,000 to the north coast of the province earlier this year.

Organisers Coleraine and District Motor Club commissioned research by tourism consultants TTC International into the event's economic benefits.

It found the total benefit to Northern Ireland - after applying an economic multiplier - was £7.79m.

The popular sporting event also delivered 150 jobs, the report claimed.

And as a result of visitors to the area - 11% of spectators come from outside Northern Ireland - 60% of hotels and guesthouses in the area were full during the race weekend.

Mervyn Whyte, race director of the International North West 200, said: "This economic impact report is excellent news for Coleraine and District Motor Club.

"It reflects the importance and value of the International North West 200 to the north coast and Northern Ireland as a whole."

DUP councillor Norman Hillis said the research provided a valuable boost to help market the event next year.

"This has been one of the most difficult years in which to run major events, with the downturn in the economy hitting both local Northern Ireland race fans and those coming from further afield, such as Great Britain and Europe.

"I congratulate the Coleraine and District Motor Club on yet again staging a wonderful racing spectacle despite the recession, and I recognise the huge economic contribution that this event generates for the local area and for all of Northern Ireland."

This year's event was won by Alastair Seeley.

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