Derry topping global Hallowe’en poll

Halloween fireworks over Derry. Martin McKeown.
Halloween fireworks over Derry. Martin McKeown.

DERRY is beating New Orleans, Salem,and even Transylvania as the world’s top Hallowe’en destination in a poll run by America’s largest publication ‘USA Today.’

The local celebrations are also leaving major world cities including New York, London and Paris in the shadows in the vote for the best annual ghoul fest.

The ‘USA Today’ Readers’ Choice poll is asking people which is the best Hallowe’en destination in the world, with a choice of 20 global destinations. Voting will remain open until Monday, October 12th and people can register votes on a daily basis.

Currently, Derry is sitting at number one, followed by Salem, Massuchussetts, location of the infamous witch trials of 1682 and 1683 (which, incidentally occurred just a few years before the Siege of Derry).

The third most popular destination was New Orleans, which, like Derry, celebrates Hallowe’en with carnival, street parades and festivals.

Other destinations for All Souls festivities include Cancun and Oaxaca in Mexico and Sleepy Hollow in the US.

Macabre clowns gather for Halloween in Derry 2013. Picture Margaret McLaughlin.

Macabre clowns gather for Halloween in Derry 2013. Picture Margaret McLaughlin.

Meanwhile, hotel occupancy rates for Derry on Hallowe’en night, which this year falls on a Saturday, are already sitting at over 90 per cent.

And Odhran Dunne, manager at ‘Visit Derry,’ said it was brilliant to be featured in the US Today poll.

Mr. Dunne said: “For us, getting the opportunity to get such exposure in one of our top international markets is amazing. It is fantastic - this poll will raise the profile of not just Derry but also Northern Ireland and Ireland.

“We fully agree that Derry is the number one destination for Hallowe’en.

For us, getting the opportunity to get such exposure in one of our top international markets is amazing.

Odhrane Dunne, manager Visit Derry

“It is a great destination to come to, particularly for an Autumn break.

“It is brilliant getting that exposure online and in print to raise the profile and get people reading about the destination.”

Mr. Dunne said that Tourism Ireland has already recorded a 16 per cent growth in visitors from the US from January to June this year.

“There’s an opportunity for us to maximise those visitors coming in over the next weeks and months,” he added.

Bran caslte in Transylvania, Romania where Dublin writer Bram Stroker's gothic vampire horror classic Dracula is set.

Bran caslte in Transylvania, Romania where Dublin writer Bram Stroker's gothic vampire horror classic Dracula is set.

“With Hallowe’en being a Saturday this year it’s a long weekend opportunity and we have seen really high demand already.”

The Top 20 Hallowe’en destinations are listed on the poll to date as : 1) Derry, Ireland; 2) Salem, Massachusetts; 3) New Orleans; 4) Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.; 5) Orlando; 6) Tucson, Arizona; 7) Transylvania, Romania; 8) Anoka, Minnesota; 9) Key West; 10) Chicago; 11) Paris; 12) Cancun, Mexico; 13) Madison, Wisconsin; 14) New York; 15) London; 16) Los Angeles; 17) Las Vegas; 18) Oaxaca, Mexico; 19) Vancouver; 20) San Francisco, California.

To vote go to: http://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/destinations/2015/09/17/10best-readers-choice-halloween-destination/32544521/.

A scene from last year's Halloween celebrations in New Orleans.

A scene from last year's Halloween celebrations in New Orleans.

Some of those taking part in a previous Derry Halloween Carnival . Picture Margaret McLaughlin

Some of those taking part in a previous Derry Halloween Carnival . Picture Margaret McLaughlin

A dragon stalks the streets during the annual Banks of the Foyle Hallowe'en Carnival on Halloween night 2012. Picture Martin McKeown.

A dragon stalks the streets during the annual Banks of the Foyle Hallowe'en Carnival on Halloween night 2012. Picture Martin McKeown.

Participants from Derry's Halloween Parade back in 2007.

Participants from Derry's Halloween Parade back in 2007.