MLA Cathal Ó hOisín says the Foyle Ferry must be operational in July so the Causeway coastal region can cash in on the final leg of the Clipper Round the World race in Derry.
The Sinn Féin MLA said: “The Clipper fleet left Southampton last summer at the start of the world’s longest race a total of 40,000 miles. Derry will join Singapore, New York, Cape Town and Rio de Janeiro on the Clipper race map as host harbours on each leg of the race. It will be a fantastic boost to our local tourism industry and a show case for the world to promote the 2013 City of Culture. Strategically the ferry link from Magilligan to Greencastle is a vital element in our tourism infrastructure to ensure the whole of the North West from Donegal to the Antrim coast benefits. When I served on the North West Region Cross Border Group we commissioned a market research report which clearly identified the centrality and all Ireland significance of the Foyle Ferry service. It demonstrated that tourists travelling from the Ring of Kerry through Connaught and Donegal used the route to access the Causeway Coast in preference to the Derry city Coleraine corridor because it is quite literally the scenic route.
“It is estimated that the Clipper race will attract 100,000 visitors to the area and generate over £6million revenue. Festivals are being planned in Moville and Greencastle and I’ll be ensuring that Limavady Borough Council fully engage and participate.”
The MLA added: “The entire region must be prepared to capitalise on this tourism bonanza.”