The Chief Executive of Derry Chamber of Commerce Sinead McLaughlin says the festival is hugely important in giving the city a welcome economic boost.
She said: “The business community is looking forward to the Foyle Maritime Festival and giving a big warm welcome to all the competitors in the Clipper Race.
“We also wish to extend our hand of friendship to their family, friends and guests from all over the world that have chosen to join us in the City over the next 10 days.
“We all hold fabulous memories of the previous two Clipper festivals and I know this one is going to bigger and even more spectacular than ever.
“We are crossing our fingers for good weather but there is so much planned and so much to enjoy that the weather is just a side show.
“This is a showcase event for our city and region and I know once again that the people of the region will be the shining stars. “
Fergal Rafferty, manager with Foyleside Shopping Centre said he was also looking forward to a busy period and extending a warm welcome to visitors and shoppers to the city.
“Foyleside is delighted to welcome back once again all of our maritime visitors to the City in 2016.
“This event has attracted tens of thousands of visitors to our city centre and on each occasion they have been overwhelmed by the special hospitality that has been extended throughout the festival.
“As a key stakeholder in the city centre this type of event is invaluable to our global tourism and destination offer and has had a significant positive impact on our local economy. I look forward in anticipation to this year’s festival which promises to surpass previous events.”
Jim Roddy, City Centre Initiative manager said the festival is a great opportunity for the daytime and night-time economy and welcomed the fact that there is a strong focus on the city centre at this year’s event.
“There is palpable excitement in the City as we look forward to the Foyle Maritime Festival.
“During this festival we will be enjoying the spectacle of all twelve Clipper boats arriving in Derry.
“Thousands are expected to come into our city centre during the festival and enjoy a host of events on the River Foyle, along the quayside and right throughout our city centre and beyond.
“This is a fabulous opportunity for both our daytime and night time economies as our visitors relax and enjoy the unique Derry welcome.”
Odhran Dunne, general manager with Visit Derry says the festival is extremely important in terms of building the city’s reputation for hosting international events and attracting visitors to the region.
He said: “Visit Derry is delighted to see the return of the Foyle Maritime Festival in July this year over nine days.
“The festival is an opportunity for the city and region to showcase our greatest tourism assets – our unique history, culture and above all the friendliness of the people on an international stage.
“It is a great family friendly event and builds our reputation as one of Ireland’s top festival cities.
“This year’s festival will attract tens of thousands of visitors to the region, both day-trippers and overnight visitors, and is set to provide a welcome economic boost to the local economy.
The city enjoys a peak in demand for overnight accommodation during the Festival and this provides a great opportunity for the bars, restaurants, retail, attractions and tour providers to encourage increased visitor spend which supports a sustainable tourism economy.”
Deirdre Heenan, Pro Vice Chancellor and Provost Ulster University at Magee said she too was really looking forward to the event. “The Foyle Maritime Festival promises to be another unforgettable experience and an opportunity to put the City on the map and showcase what a fantastic place it is. In 2014 the event brought thousands of visitors to the City and Queen’s Quay was transformed into a bustling, colourful celebration of all things nautical.”
The Foyle Maritime Festival is supported by Tourism Northern Ireland, Foyle Port, Loughs Agency, Diageo, DuPont Kevlar and Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.
For further information on the Foyle Maritime Festival and a full programme of events visitwww.foylemaritimefestival.com. Follow us on Twitter @derryclipper or find us on Facebook at Derrylondonderryclipper