The Mayor of Derry & Strabane John Boyle has praised all those involved in making the Foyle Maritime Festival such a success.
Mayor Boyle was speaking as he joined thousands of others who turned out along Queen’s Quay and at Greencastle over the weekend to witness the spectacular Voyages show and to bid farewell to the Clipper fleet as they set sail for Liverpool for the final stage of their global adventure.
Derry & Strabane Council have now confirmed that up to 220,000 people are believed to have attended the ten days of the festival.
Thousands packed along the quay on Friday night to witness the Voyages and Parade of Light Showcase, and many of those gathered said the fireworks display surpassed even the annual Hallowe’en celebrations.
Speaking as the festival drew to a close on Sunday, Mayor Boyle said: “We have welcomed visitors from all over the world over the past week and it has been fantastic to see Derry and the wider North West region profiled in such a positive way on a global platform.”
Aeidin McCarter, Council’s Head of Culture said: “Looking ahead now we will be exploring ways to build on the momentum created by the Maritime Festival in our future events.”
Clipper Race chairman and founder Sir Robin Knox Johnston described the Derry celebrations as “enormous”. He said: “This stopover has got better every time we have come here. Thank you again to everyone who has attended the festival and made our crews feel so welcome.”
Donegal native and HotelPlanner.com crew member Roseann McGlinchey meanwhile said: “To sail into my home city and see my family for the first time in a year is something I will always remember. We almost felt like celebrities during our time in Derry, everyone made us feel so special and welcome.”
Karen Henderson from Visit Derry, said that the final hotel occupancy over the nine days was 91.29 per cent.
Commenting on the tens of thousands of visitors who flocked to the city for the Foyle Maritime Festival and Foyle Cup, she said: “Both events have been a fantastic opportunity to showcase the city as an international tourist destination.”