Archive for the 'Latest News' Category

Foster announces Giro d’Italia legacy event for the next three years

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster today announced that a major cycling event, the Gran Fondo, has been secured for Northern Ireland.

Run by Giro d’Italia organisers, RCS, the Gran Fondo will take place here for the next three years, with the first event scheduled for June 2015.

Speaking at today’s announcement at Titanic Belfast, Arlene Foster said: “The 2014 Giro d’Italia captured the imagination of the people of Northern Ireland and was hailed as a resounding success by the organisers, who were bowled over by the warmth of our welcome and enthusiasm. Cyclists are now coming to ride the Giro stages and other routes across Northern Ireland and we want to capitalise on that interest.

“The Gran Fondo will establish a tangible legacy event to the Giro d’Italia and further increase awareness of Northern Ireland as a premium cycling and tourism destination. There will also be a positive economic impact, with riders and their families filling local hotels and restaurants.

“The event also has the capacity to generate significant media interest in the lead up and across the weekend of the Gran Fondo. Both the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and Tourism Ireland will be working hard to engage with cycling media across our key markets close to home and overseas.”

Following the huge success of the Giro Grande Partenza, Northern Ireland Tourist Board entered into negotiations with RCS and partners Shadetree Sports to secure the event, a sportive aimed at amateur cyclists across the world who travel to the host country to participate.

Two race routes have been scoped and provisionally recommended by the organisers, preceded by cycling activities on the day before the main event across Northern Ireland. Both routes, one 177 kilometres and the other 59 kilometres, commence and finish at Titanic Belfast.

Darach McQuaid, Shadetree Sports director said: “We are very pleased to announce this new partnership with NITB on Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia. The success of the Big Start last May was just the beginning and we are looking forward to working closely with local stakeholders to make this new event a big success over the next three years.

“We aim to make Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia Northern Ireland one of the best in the world and one which will attract riders from all around to globe to ride on Northern Ireland’s roads and experience the warmth of the welcome here, along with the unique Giro theme. Being part of this growing global series will give us the ability to market Northern Ireland as a leading cycling destination and attract new visitors.

“There will be strong engagement with the local communities the event will pass through and our aim will be to create the “pink magic” that was done so well in May during the Big Start.”

Andrea Trabuio, Head of Mass Events, RCS Sport said: “Following the great success of the 2014 Giro d’Italia Big Start from Belfast, in the amazing scenery of the Northern Ireland coastline, we are very happy to announce a new three-year partnership that will see a series of Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia events hosted in this fantastic country. We are sure that this ‘Made in Italy’ event will be a big success and will positively promote Northern Ireland.”

Gran Fondo events take place throughout Europe and the rest of the world but are limited in number in an effort to keep the events unique.

Foster: private sector leading economic recovery

Friday, December 12th, 2014

The latest edition of the DETI Economic Commentary, which provides an assessment of local economic conditions, was published today.

Noting the recent economic trends, Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster said: “Last year marked a turning point for our economy, and the upturn has been even more marked throughout 2014. Our private sector has been leading this recovery, with job numbers increasing for nine consecutive quarters and economic output improving.

“The recovery is also being felt in our labour market, where there has been a continuous fall in the number of unemployment benefit claimants for 22 consecutive months now, as well as improvements in both the employment and economic activity rates.”

Independent economic forecasters are predicting that the local economy will grow by 2.4%, in 2014, before slowing to 1.9% in 2015. A consistent picture across these forecasts is the divergence between a growing private sector and the public sector.

Arlene Foster said: “Independent forecasters expect us to experience solid growth in the coming years and that is welcome news, particularly in these times of heightened uncertainty, not just locally but also in the wider global economy.

“However, this growth is very much reliant on continuing to boost our private sector alongside the public expenditure challenges which are now being felt. That is why Corporation Tax, which is now almost within our grasp, is essential as a measure to help grow our economy.”

The Economic Commentary includes a specialist article on Northern Ireland’s innovation performance, which follows on from recently published R&D statistics and the NI Innovation Strategy.

The Minister added: “I welcome the continued growth of research and development expenditure in 2013, which demonstrates our commitment to developing Northern Ireland as an innovative economy. While we still have work to do in improving our wider innovation performance, the NI Executive’s recent Innovation Strategy outlines the key themes and measures that we will use as we seek to address this.”