North West 200 Revs-Up

One of Ireland's largest annual sporting events, the International North West 200 has been officially launched.

Run by Coleraine and District Motor Cycle Club in Co Londonderry, it features a series of road races by some of the leading names in motorcycling and attracts an estimated attendance of over 100,000 with many spectators travelling from beyond Northern Ireland.

Yesterday, the NI Sports Minister Nelson McCausland outlined the benefits that the North West 200 brings to Northern Ireland.

He said: "It is the jewel in the crown of our road racing season and the biggest sporting occasion in Northern Ireland.

"Now in its 81st, year the event continues to draw tens of thousands of spectators and competitors from all over the world. This gives us a wonderful opportunity to showcase our many attractions and allow visitors to experience our first class hospitality."

In addition to the main race day, the NW200 Race Festival Week also now incorporates a weeklong programme of practice nights, community events and charity fundraising functions with the Minister also highlighting the importance of the event to the tourism industry and to the local economy.

He said: "This festival provides significant economic benefit for the wider region, with the local accommodation sector benefiting through 100% occupancy for at least four nights during the festival week.

"Shops, restaurants and other eateries report high levels of business during the festival week, bringing significant benefits to the local economy. This is to be welcomed especially in these hard economic times."

Arlene Foster added: "The NW200 is a unique event which showcases Northern Ireland to an international audience.

"Raising our profile across the globe, it builds on the already impressive reputation Northern Ireland has as a hospitable and welcoming destination with something for everyone.

"It generates significant revenue for the Northern Ireland economy. The overall economic benefit of the event, encompassing direct and indirect benefits, is projected to be over £5million.

"Once visitors have experienced race week they often return to Northern Ireland time and time again."


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