Belfast Telegraph

Lumiere spectacle brings thousands to glowing Derry

By DONNA DEENEY

The Lumiere celebration of lights which opened in Londonderry on Thursday night is drawing thousands of visitors.

Hotels, restaurants and traders are reaping the benefits, with between 95% and 99% room occupancy and more people expected for tonight and tomorrow's displays.

Translink has laid on additional buses and Lumiere trains from Belfast as people arrive from across Northern Ireland to take in the magical installations.

Lumiere is proving to be the jewel in the crown of the last weeks of the City of Culture celebrations and months of marketing the spectacle has paid off.

Derry Visitors and Convention Bureau chief executive Odhran Dunne said: "Hotel occupancy for this weekend is fluctuating between 95% and 99% but the numbers of visitors we expect will be in and around 175,000 before Lumiere closes on Sunday night.

"This event has been extremely well marketed and people are coming from both across Northern Ireland and the Republic as well as GB and as word of mouth extends we expect the numbers of visitors over the weekend to continue to grow.

"This definitely has been another huge success in the City of Culture calendar and leads straight into the Turner Prize on Monday which has also filled the hotels.

"All this has shown that Derry can host large events, which bodes well going into 2014 and beyond," he added.

Fergal Rafferty, manager of Foyleside Shopping Centre which has the 'Voyage' installation outside, said: "Our traders are already reporting an increase of 35% and they expect that figure to rise over the last two days of Lumiere.

"This has been an incredible way to kick start the late-night shopping in the run-up to Christmas."

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