It has been revealed today that Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland, will once again feature as a Host Port in the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race.
The decision that the race will visit the Northern Irish city for the fourth consecutive time, in July 2018, was confirmed today by Derry City and Strabane District Council at its Business and Culture Committee meeting.
Welcoming the city back to the global race route, Clipper Race Chairman and Founder Sir Robin Knox-Johnston said: “We are very pleased to continue our long-term relationship with the city of Derry-Londonderry.
“Over the past six years the city has welcomed our international crew, supporters and partners with open arms and is an exceptional place to visit and do business with. The spirit of Derry-Londonderry and its people is contagious, which has consistently positioned itself as one of the most popular destinations the race has partnered with in its 20 year history. We look forward to working with Derry City and Strabane District Council and its stakeholders to create another unforgettable event.”
Since 2011 in the lead up to its title of UK City of Culture 2013, the Clipper Race has been at the centre of the Northern Irish city and its surrounding regions campaign, which has used the global nature of the race as a stage to build its legacy and attract investment to the region through tourism and business.
One of the most highly anticipated Host Ports on the Clipper Race route in the past three race editions, the ‘LegenDerry’, and award winning, Foyle Maritime Festival, held along the city’s iconic river, has provided an exciting programme of diverse events in celebration of the 40,000 nautical-mile odyssey of the race.
To build on the success of the 2016 festival, which experienced a record breaking £3.5 million boost to its local economy, Derry City and Strabane District Council aims to continue to develop the local economy and has identified that tourism, arts and culture are fundamental to promote growth and sustainability in its hospitality sector. The city’s ambition is to build on its international status and recognition as a world-class destination and boost tourism and job figures in the region significantly by 2020.
Alderman Hilary McClintock, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council said:
“This announcement is the result of ongoing discussions between Council and key stakeholders to build on the international profile acquired by the award-winning Foyle Maritime Festival. Council has given a commitment to host a major maritime themed festival on a bi-annual basis to build on the legacy of the Clipper Race partnership over the past six years and we are delighted to be a designated port for this global event.
“During its last three races, the Clipper Race allowed us to drive the visitor and tourism economy of the North West forward, attracting both local and global audiences to our city and region.”
Following the nine-day festival in 2016, which was built around the Clipper Race stopover last July, an independent research report revealed that 25 per cent of the 163,000 visitors who attended Derry-Londonderry’s waterfront during that time were international.
Two thirds of visitors stated that the Clipper Race was a primary reason for visiting, which resulted in July 2016 being the best performing month for hotel room sales ever recorded in the city.
Derry City and Strabane District Council has revealed it plans to work with local businesses across the region to host the race. John Kelpie, Chief Executive with the Council, said: “The global stature of the Clipper Race will enable council officers to work with key stakeholders from within the statutory and private sectors to leverage funding and sponsorship that will ensure the delivery of another successful event worthy of the international profile it will attract.”
Approximately 700 crew will take part in the Clipper 2017-18 Race, representing over 40 different nationalities. Starting in August, the race will include up to 14 different races across six continents. The race fleet will arrive in Derry-Londonderry in July 2018 during the homecoming leg.