Giro d’Italia to attract 40,000 extra visitors to Ireland
World’s second biggest cycle race being used to promote Ireland abroad
Cyclists Stephen Roche and Sean Kelly, at announcement in Dublin last year. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times
Tourism Ireland chief executive Niall Gibbons said the race would be used to promote Ireland as a tourism destination with a potential television audience of 775 million.
Rugby player Johnny Sexton’s club Racing Metro has been used as a launch pad to promote the race in France.
The 40,000 figure is based on the numbers who travelled to Denmark last year for the start of the race in 2012, the last time it was held abroad.
Tourism Ireland has been highlighting the Grande Partenza (big start) of the Giro d’Italia 2014 in tourism markets across the world, since it was announced last year.
The race will begin in Belfast with a short stage around the city on the first day.
It will pass by the Giant’s Causeway and the Glens of Antrim before returning to Belfast on the second day. The final stage will be from Armagh to Dublin.
Speaking at the launch, Minister for Tourism Leo Varadkar said the Government was supporting the Giro d’Italia though the Stormont government had taken the lead.
He said it was an example of how north-outh co-operation can help to secure sporting events and was a good forerunner for Ireland’s bid for the Rugby World Cup.
Mr Varadkar maintained that television coverage of the Giro will go down well in Italy where Ireland is consistently in the top 10 countries that Italians wish to visit.
The race will be shown in 150 countries.