Belfast Telegraph

Bigger and better Tall Ships will bring £10m windfall to Belfast

Twice as many vessels than in 2009 with over one million visitors expected at festival

By Joanne Sweeney

More than a million people will enjoy the magnificent spectacle of the Tall Ships in Belfast next weekend as the city enjoys an expected £10m windfall, organisers have predicted.

More than 50 ships will sail into the city's harbour next Thursday for a four-day festival of maritime themed historical and family-focused activities.

Organisers claim that as many as 750,000 people will visit the festival with a further 500,000 lining the shores along the lough from Belfast to Whitehead as the huge flotilla of ships leaves on Sunday, July 5.

They will set sail for Portrush for the launch of the 2015 Tall Ships Race series, before heading for Norway.

A full entertainment programme has been organised with fun fairs, street theatre, food markets and a fireworks display on the Saturday night. There will also be a fly past by the Royal Arrows on Sunday morning as the ships leave.

It will be the third time that Belfast has hosted the Tall Ships, but this year's event will feature twice as many of the massive Class A ships than 2009.

While the ships will be the undisputed stars of the event at Queen's Quay and Pollock Dock, 100 teenagers from across Northern Ireland will get the chance to sail off in the Parade of Ships on Sunday.

Most of the youngsters will be on board the ships for the 10-day sail to Norway for the first phase of the epic race.

Translink is putting on increased bus and rail services, and advised visitors to make the most of public transport, particularly on the final day with the Parade of Ships.

The Belfast Telegraph is the exclusive publisher of the official souvenir programme. It sells at £6 plus p&p and is available to order here.

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