Major boost, a triumph, and a fantastic day, this is just some of the praise expressed after An Taoiseach and the CEO of Volvo Ocean Race signed on the dotted line yesterday officially confirming Galway as being the host port for the grand finale in 2012.
After months of preparation, campaigning, and lots of hoping, the organisers and the many supporters of Galway’s bid were delighted when Brian Cowen met with Mr Knut Frostad in Dublin yesterday afternoon. Following the official announcement there was no end to the calls of welcome, thanks, and optimism for the future that came sailing in.
Welcoming the decision at the launch, Chamber of Commerce president Paul Shelly said: “The decision by the organisers of the Volvo Round the world yacht race to select Galway as the finishing stopover for the 2011-2012 race will be a major boost to the local economy over the next two years.”
Mr Shelly went on to say: “This is a fantastic day for Galway. The economic impact of the 2009 stopover was significant, with over €50 million spent in Galway during the event. As the finishing stopover in 2012 we can expect an even greater spend.” Mr Shelly believes that the the impact of the decision would be immediate as businesses will begin to plan as soon as possible.
“The Let’s Do It Galway team, Fáilte Ireland, and the Government deserve our congratulations on winning this event for Ireland again and the people of Galway deserve praise also. I have no doubt that the uniquely Galway welcome that the boats and their crew received in Galway during the 2009 stopover together with the superb organisation of the event on the ground, will have greatly influenced the race organisers to select Galway for the prestigious role as the race finish,” said Mr Shelly.
The Irish Hotels Federation described the selection of Galway as a “major tourism triumph for Ireland”. IHF president Paul Gallagher said that the event will provide a phenomenal platform to showcase Ireland internationally and profile the country as a vibrant and attractive destination to hundreds of millions of potential visitors across the globe.
“The event offers enormous tourism potential for the country as we saw during the Galway stopover for the 2009 race. By attracting up to 40,000 overseas visitors and injecting up to €80 million in tourism income, it promises a much-needed boost for businesses across Galway. Hoteliers look forward to working with Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland to ensure we leverage all aspects of the finale to maximise the tourism benefits to the local and national economy,” said Mr Gallagher.
Galway IHF branch chairman, Paul Gill, said: “Hotels and guesthouses throughout the west of Ireland are delighted that Galway is hosting a sporting event of such magnitude with the potential to reach so many people worldwide. We look forward to welcoming our ocean racing friends back to Galway for what will be a truly memorable experience.
“On behalf of hoteliers in Galway, I’d like to thank Minister Éamon Ó Cuív and John Killeen, chairman of Let’s Do It Galway, for their tireless energy and commitment in helping to secure the 2012 finale for Galway.”
The selection of Galway to host the finale will prove to be an ideal opportunity to reinvigorate the potential of marine leisure activities in the western region, that is according to the Western Development Commission (WDC ) which was heavily involved in the Galway stopover in 2009 and is currently actively supporting the Let’s Do It Galway team in hosting the Round Ireland Offshore Powerboat Race 2010.
Following the official announcement, Lisa McAllister, CEO of WDC, said: “We are absolutely delighted at Galway’s selection as the race finish port. Galway’s selection is the product of a cohesive public and private partnership that will deliver substantial tourism revenues not only to the western region but to the island as a whole.”