Derry to reap £5m from Clipper festival

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Derry stands to reap £5m in just ten days as a result of its involvement in the Clipper race, the city council has said.

The city’s entry in the race cost £1.9m with £1.2m of the bill being footed by Derry City Council out of £3.8m the local authority had committed to fund the City of Culture Programme.

Derry City Council Chief Executive Sharon O’Connor explained that the investment in Clipper 11-12 covered all activities including participation in the race, international marketing programme, community programme and even a ten-day race hosting event which will yield £5m return in investment for the city.

“The rationale for participating in the race and hosting the Clipper fleet was to achieve international profile of the city ahead of UK City of Culture 2013 and secure an international showcase event as part of NI2012,” she told the ‘Journal’.

She explained that Clipper 9-10 demonstrated a benefit of over $250m media value and the provision of a return on investment of 1:7 for participating partners. She added: “The city has modest legacy target for profile of £1m for city specific stories in local and international markets, a growing ex-pat database for creating reasons to visit the city in 2013 and a return on investment of £5m during the ten-day fleet hosting event.”

Ms O’Connor said there is currently “significant interest” in the city as a location for business and tourism because of the 2013 City of Culture tag and NI2012 branding. She added: “Clipper 11-12 is one of the many opportunities to maximize this unique window of opportunity to connect internationally with a global audience for business, tourism and diaspora. With the Clipper event demonstrating a potential reach of 500 million people through media profile alone, it is an investment in sharing the city’s new story in partnership with this international sailing event.”

A council budget of £80,000 has also been made available for international trade events surrounding the Clipper race.

Ms O’Connor explained: “The city’s ambition is to achieve the maximum media value ahead of City of Culture 2013 and make significant international connections. This will be achieved through organizing and participating in trade events in New York and Halifax. These events are supported by Invest Northern Ireland and facilitated in key international locations by Tourism Ireland. They also include opportunities for local companies to participate in the programme.”

Last week a Derry delegation led by Ms O’Connor was in San Francisco to promote business and tourism links with the city.

The delegation also included Chair of Development Committee, Colr Martin Reilly and Digital Champion Mark Nagurski.

Colr Martin Reilly said: “This is our time to look for new ideas and initiatives with international partners.”