LOCAL TOURISM RIDES IN BEHIND THE GIRO D’ITALIA

Susie McCullough, Director of Business Support and Events OF NITB addresses tourism organisations and business representatives from Belfast at the city hall. PIC: KELVIN BOYES/Presseye

Susie McCullough, Director of Business Support and Events OF NITB addresses tourism organisations and business representatives from Belfast at the city hall. PIC: KELVIN BOYES/Presseye

TOURISM related businesses and representatives from Belfast have taken part in a Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) roadshow on preparing for the ‘Big Start’ of the Giro d’Italia.

The ‘Get Ready for the Giro’ roadshow, at Belfast City Hall, outlined the size and scope of the world famous cycling spectacle and the impact it is set to have across Northern Ireland.

Attendees got a taste of what will be happening locally and how businesses, schools, clubs, communities and volunteers can engage and interact with the race for the coveted pink winner’s jersey.

The roadshow included an overview of the impact on roads and local communities and presentations by Shadetree Sports (representing race organisers RCS), the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and Belfast City Council.

NITB is encouraging local councils and communities in towns and villages along the routes of the three stages of the race to ‘think pink’ and organise their own events to celebrate the Giro coming to Northern Ireland and to promote their tourism potential to the influx of visitors expected.

The roadshow is part of a series that NITB, in partnership with the local authorities along the Giro route, is running for the tourism industry and local communities.

Susie McCullough, Director of Business Support and Events said: “Bringing the Giro d’Italia here is a massive achievement for Northern Ireland and it will be a tremendous boost for tourism across the board – hotels, town centres, villages and local communities will all benefit.

“It will not only provide fantastic opportunities for local people to witness one of the world’s most prestigious international sporting events at first hand, it will let Northern Ireland showcase our spectacular scenery, friendly people, the local tourism product and our status a top location for sporting events to a worldwide audience.”

Over 200 of the world’s elite professional riders, their support teams, TV crews and international media will be in Northern Ireland for the race.

NITB anticipates it will attract 140,000 visitors, with 42,000 of these from out of state.

The huge worldwide audience and fan base for the race means it will be viewed on TV by approximately some 775 million people in 165 countries.

This event is supported by NITB and part funded by the European Regional Development Fund under the European Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland

Stage 1 of the race will be a 22km time trial through Belfast taking in the Newtownards Road, Stormont, Queen’s Bridge, the Ormeau Road, Stranmillis and the city centre.

Stage 2 will be 218km travelling from Belfast to Antrim, then to Ballymena, Ballymoney and Bushmills and on to the Giant’s Causeway taking in the coastline from Cushendall to Larne, Carrickfergus and back to Belfast.

Stage 3 is a 187km cross border section that will leave Armagh and travel to Richhill and Newtownhamilton before heading south, crossing the border at Forkhill en route to Dublin, via Dundalk, Castlebellingham and Drogheda.

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