The legacy of Derry’s City of Culture celebrations has been a hotly debated subject across the city and beyond in recent months.
In many ways there is more expectation attached to the legacy of 2013 than there was for the year itself because of the success of the last twelve months.
In Derry and elsewhere, people now have a greater appreciation of what the city is capable of, both in terms of hosting major events and attracting visitors.
It also showed what is possible through a genuine sense of collaborative working when individual concerns are temporarily put aside for the good of the city.
The challenge now, however, is to ensure that this effort is maintained in the years ahead.
While many will no doubt be surprised by the comparatively small amount of funding pledged by Derry City Council for legacy projects for the year ahead, there is no reason that the spirit of working together which helped make 2013 a great year for Derry cannot continue.
Granted, there will be less money available for 2014 and the city may not play host to some of the larger scale events witnessed this year, but the legacy of City of Culture is already visible throughout the city in physical terms with numerous city centre improvements and more still to come.
Now that Derry is looking better than ever, the next task is to improve and simplify the city’s marketing strategy to attract as many visitors as possible.
A clear, well thought-out plan which simply sets out Derry’s many attractions in plain terms to both tourists and investors is key to ensuring that we do not lose the place on the world stage which was gained this year.
Looking back on the successes of the past will not meet the growing expectations of the Derry public. Such successes must be matched and expectations exceeded.