Maritime festival to have visitors hooked on Derry

The Derry-Londonderry-Doire clipper is now on its way to the Netherlands.
The Derry-Londonderry-Doire clipper is now on its way to the Netherlands.

The city’s official tourism organisation, Visit Derry, is expecting a big surge in visitors and accommodation bookings for the LegenDerry Maritime Festival.

‘Visit Derry’ says there has been keen demand for accommodation during the festival which is taking place in the city from June 21-29.

Odhran Dunne, General Manager of ‘Visit Derry’, says: “There are peak periods of demand around weekends. However, it will be a week-long visitor experience and, with bookings trending towards shorter lead-in times, it will be a great opportunity for the tourism economy to benefit across the full week of the festival.”

Thousands of people are expected to visit the city for what is expected to be one of Ireland’s biggest international maritime festivals this year.

The highlight of the festival will be the arrival of the twelve Clipper Round The World Race yachts on the homecoming leg of their transatlantic odyssey.

A packed programme of maritime-themed events has been organised as well as concerts, a continental market, arts & crafts and water-based activities.

Odhran Dunne says the success of the 2012 Clipper Race Homecoming firmly established the festival on the wider events calendar.

“It is a great hook for the destination to use the international Maritime Festival to highlight all that is best about the city – its people, heritage and culture. The attractiveness of our natural physical location will ensure the festival appeals to all ages and will have an atmosphere to match.

“The launch of the programme, including the Beach Boys concert, the markets, Red Arrows, the boats themselves and access to the water is a fantastic opportunity for the city to raise its profile.

“This is a great boost to the local tourism economy and the festival gives us a great platform to showcase the city as a must-see destination in international tourism markets”.

The biggest influx of visitors for the festival is expected to be from both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland enjoying short breaks and day trips.

“However, with a lot of GB-based crew and family and international branded yachts, we will be expecting visitors from across the world to enjoy the event,” he added.

Sinead McLaughlin, Chief Executive of Derry Chamber of Commerce, says the city’s close partnership with the Clipper Race global brand will enhance the investment proposition for the region.

“The festival itself is a real celebration of not only our river, our music and our food but, most importantly, a celebration of our people. Our visitors will experience a warm welcome which will ensure they will return to this region time and time again,” she said.

Jim Roddy, City Centre Manager, believes local businesses are aiming to maximise the benefits from the influx of visitors to the city.

“We are expecting tens of thousands of people to throng the streets and such a dramatic increase in footfall will give much greater potential for trading opportunities.

“We are in it together to make this city work. Derry City Council is reaching out to businesses to make this festival work for them.”

The LegenDerry Maritime Festival is organised by Derry City Council with funding support from NITB and Diageo and delivery support from Foyle Port, the Loughs Agency, Visit Derry and Ilex.