Tourism Ireland launched the Grande Partenza (or ‘Big Start’) of the Giro d’Italia 2014 this week in Vicenza in Northern Italy, the venue for the 17th stage of this year’s Giro.
At a specially-organised media event in Vicenza, Tourism Ireland took the opportunity to highlight to the hugely influential international and Italian media who are following this year’s race that the Grande Partenza will take place in Northern Ireland for the first time ever in May 2014. Over 70 Italian and international sports and lifestyle journalists were in attendance, as well as senior representatives of RCS Sport (the organisers of the event) and La Gazzetta dello
Sport (Italy’s most widely-read national daily newspaper, and the official ‘organ’ for the Giro).
With routes in Belfast and Armagh, next year’s Grande Partenza provides a wonderful platform to promote Northern Ireland on the global stage. 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 this Sunday (26 May) at Brescia.
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, CEO 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.”
The Tourism Ireland team in Italy has a specially-branded Ireland ‘caravan’, travelling through Italy with the Giro this month. The organisation has had 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.
More than one million Giro and sports enthusiasts have been seeing Tourism Ireland’s online ads on the website of La Gazzetta dello
Sport throughout the month of May. And email marketing, with information about Northern Ireland, has just reached about 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 is targeting almost 500,000 Facebook fans, with a competition to raise awareness of the Grande Partenza route and offering the chance to win a fantastic trip to cycle along the route.