Hosting the start of the Giro d’Italia, one of the world’s biggest sporting events illustrates just how much Northern Ireland has moved forward in the last number of years.
As a result of Executive decisions we now have a proven track record in organising and delivering world-class sporting and cultural events. There is no doubt the international media coverage generated from the 2014 Grande Partenza will promote tourism and attract foreign direct investment to help grow our local economy.
When the world’s elite cyclists weave through Titanic Quarter, the streets of Belfast, the Causeway Coastal Route and Glens, then Armagh before heading to Dublin, almost 800 million people worldwide will view our beautiful landscapes and scenery.
Tens of thousands of locals and visitors will line the routes, generating a festival atmosphere, boosting business and generating tourism opportunities in cities, towns and villages.
The Giro d’Italia will generate a great sense of public ownership, involvement and celebration, as we saw with the World Police and Fire Games last year.
This will build on our international reputation following the successful hosting of the G8 Summit and Derry~Londonderry’s tenure as City of Culture. We have more great events to look forward to with the Irish Open coming to Royal County Down and the Lough Erne Resort in 2015 and 2017.
We should be rightly proud of all that we have achieved. This special opportunity to host the Giro offers us a unique platform to showcase the best of what we have to offer as an attractive place to do business, visit, study and live.
Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness