Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Giro's big Belfast start will be money-spinner

Think pink: Fiona Cunningham from Northern Ireland Tourist Board joins legendary Irish cyclist and former Giro winner Stephen Roche, Naomi Waite from NITB and Giovanni Nipoti from RCS Sport as they gear up for next year's Giro d'Italia cycle race Belfast start

Tourist Board chiefs have consulted their calculators and the figures add up to a massive financial bonanza for Northern Ireland as next year's world famous Giro d'Italia cycle race hits the road here.

Over 140,000 overnight visitors are expected to check in for the race's Grande Partenza (Big Start) from Titanic Belfast on Friday, May 9.

The field of 200 of the world's best cyclists from over 30 countries will then travel up to the North Antrim Coast and race along the Causeway Coastal Route back to Belfast before concluding on Sunday, May 11 with a road stage from Armagh to Dublin.

In 2010 the Big Start was hosted in Amsterdam, generating an economic return of €7.4 economic and attracting 200,000 spectators. Last year saw the Big Start held in Denmark with 500,000 spectators.

Based on that, NITB's Director of Marketing Naomi Waite said: "The benefits of an event like this for Northern Ireland are huge. We're expecting more than 140,000 overnight visitors for the event, as well as countless more spectators on each day, which will generate millions for the local economy.

"On top of this, we expect the event to generate around £10million worth of international media coverage which will really showcase Northern Ireland as a top quality destination and host for world class events. Last year's event attracted massive international media coverage when it was broadcast in 165 countries with a global audience of 775 million people.

"Cycling has never enjoyed such popularity across the world as it does now and we would urge fans across Northern Ireland to join us in Belfast for the launch and be part of the celebrations that will be taking place around the city.

"In addition to the feast of cycling, there will be a fantastic array of events and festivals in Belfast and Armagh in the run up to and during Giro with music, food and live entertainment for visitors to look forward to."

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