This year’s famous Giro d’Italia cycling race kicked off recently in Naples, Italy. Tourism Ireland has put in place a busy programme of promotions, to capitalise on the tourism potential of the prestigious sporting event for Northern Ireland – with a presence at each of the 21 stages of the race, which finishes at Brescia on 26 May.
One of the world’s foremost cycling spectacles, the Grande Partenza (or “Big Start”) of the Giro d’Italia will come here for the first time ever in May 2014, including routes in Belfast and Armagh – providing a wonderful platform to promote Northern Ireland on the global stage. The Tourism Ireland team in Italy has a specially-branded “caravan”, travelling through Italy with the Giro this month. The organisation has a presence in the start and finish villages of each of the 21 stages of the race, where the team is busy distributing brochures and lots of information about holidays here. At the end of this year’s Giro, Tourism Ireland will host a press briefing in Vicenza (northern Italy), to highlight details of next year’s Grande Partenza to about 100 key sports and lifestyle journalists from Italy and elsewhere around the globe.
Tourism Minister Arlene Foster said: "Bringing the Giro d’Italia to Northern Ireland is a huge achievement and it will provide a fantastic opportunity for local people to witness one of the world’s most prestigious international sporting events first hand. It is loved and followed by millions of enthusiasts around the world and it has an appeal that is much wider than sport.
“Northern Ireland now has several years' experience of organising world-class sporting and cultural events and we are committed to developing event-based tourism. The Giro d’Italia is an excellent example of how we are doing just that and a whole range of activities will be staged before and during the races.
“I have no doubt that there will be much excitement when the world’s greatest cyclists arrive in Belfast. As the race travels around Northern Ireland millions of TV viewers will get to see our spectacular scenery and the event will further enhance our growing reputation as a must-see destination.”
More than one million Giro and sports enthusiasts will see Tourism Ireland’s online ads on the website of La Gazzetta dello Sport (sports newspaper in Italy) this month. And email marketing, with information about Northern Ireland, will also reach approximately 200,000 Giro fans. The Grande Partenza 2014, and the route it will follow here, is also being highlighted prominently on Tourism Ireland’s website in Italy, irlanda.com, and in other markets around the globe. In Italy, Great Britain, Germany and Spain, Tourism Ireland is also leveraging the huge interest in cycling and the massive media coverage around the Giro d’Italia through social media; in conjunction with the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, the organisation will target almost 500,000 Facebook fans, with a competition to raise awareness of the Grande Partenza route, including Belfast and Armagh, and offering the chance to win a fantastic trip to cycle along the route.
Set to attract massive international media coverage – according to the organisers, last year’s Giro was broadcast in 165 countries, reaching 125 million households and a global audience of about 775 million people – Tourism Ireland will take every opportunity over the coming year to leverage the tourism potential of this prestigious sporting event. The organisation will be highlighting Northern Ireland as a wonderful holiday destination, as well as a top location for sporting events. Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland, said, “It is a wonderful coup for Northern Ireland that the Grande Partenza of the Giro d’Italia will take place here in 2014. There is huge interest in this prestigious event, which will be seen by an estimated 775 million sports and cycling fans everywhere, presenting us with a fantastic opportunity to highlight Northern Ireland around the world as a top location for sporting events, as well as a wonderful holiday destination. The event, second only to the Tour de France in terms of prestige, will help raise the profile of Northern Ireland and we will be pulling out all the stops to capitalise on the potential of this prestigious sporting event.”
Further media information:
Elaine Moore/Clair Balmer, Tourism Ireland
Tel: 07766 527719
Notes to Editors:
• Tourism Ireland is the organisation responsible for promoting Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland overseas as a leading holiday destination.
• Tourism is responsible for in excess of 4.9% of GDP in Northern Ireland and supports approximately 40,000 jobs.
• In 2011, 1.5 million overseas visitors came to Northern Ireland, delivering revenue of £368 million.
• Tourism Ireland’s international website is ireland.com, which is rolling out in 11 different language versions for 30+ markets around the world this year.