Derry businesses urged to attend Foyle Maritime Festival engagement event

With just months to go before the first Clipper Race yachts are spotted on the horizon, plans are already underway for the Foyle Maritime Festival and the huge quayside celebrations that draw tens of thousands of visitors to Derry.

This will be the fifth consecutive time that the city has acted as a host port and a considerable international following for the event has built up over the years. The surge in visitors brings with it a welcome boost to the local economy and local businesses are being encouraged to consider how they can really get involved with the celebrations.

A special business engagement event will take place on April 1st at the City Hotel offering local hospitality, tourism and market traders the chance to get the full low down on the plans for the festival which kicks off on Wednesday July 20, running until Sunday July 24th.

It’s been almost four years since the quayside was thronged with festival goers, and there is a renewed appetite for outdoor events following the pandemic which means the anticipation for this year’s event is already starting to build. Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Graham Warke, said it was a fantastic opportunity for local businesses to showcase the fantastic array of products and services on offer here after the pandemic. “I’m already counting down the days to the Foyle Maritime Festival and all it brings to the city. Given the two very challenging years we have just been through, I know our local business community will be eagerly awaiting the chance to reengage with the festival, the many visitors and the buzz and energy it creates.

The Quay along the River Foyle during the Maritime Festival in 2016. Picture Martin McKeown. 10.07.16

“This is a great chance to become a part of the festivities at an early stage and to find out how your business can really benefit from trading opportunities. I think there is a huge expectation for this year’s celebrations to reach new levels and we need everyone’s involvement to create that outstanding visitor experience that will keep people returning to our City and District again and again.”

With a growing awareness of the impacts of excessive use of plastics and packaging on our rivers, seas and oceans, the Foyle Maritime Festival will this year have a strong environmental focus. The theme for 2022 is ‘What Lies Beneath’ focusing on the natural beauty of our oceans, rivers and lakes, and the onus on all of us to protect and preserve marine life. Take the Pledge will be the message, with a dedicated campaign within the festival encouraging local people to sign up to being more eco-friendly.

Council and its partners at the Lough’s Agency and Foyle Port will be working to raise awareness about sustainability, and encouraging local businesses to consider how they can put the environment first when it comes to the resources and packaging they use for their products.

Head of Business with Council, Kevin O’Connor, said he was looking forward to engaging with local businesses and hearing their ideas for the Festival. “The Foyle Maritime Festival will be the highlight of our festival calendar this year, and with the easing of restrictions it’s a huge platform for our local businesses following the pandemic. The extended footprint of the festival with the closure of Queen’s Quay opens up so many opportunities for local business, and Council is already working with private promoters, businesses and traders to support the delivery of a diverse programme of events from the day the boats arrive, to ensure they can best make the event work for them.

“I would really encourage businesses from a wide range of sectors to consider how they can get involved and share their ideas and feedback to ensure we deliver an unforgettable festival experience for 2022!”

Businesses at the engagement event will have the chance to find out about more about the event programme, street trading opportunities, street food, café pavement licensing, and available business support.