THE Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) is delighted at the response from businesses, schools, community groups and the public at large across Northern Ireland to embrace the colour pink to celebrate the arrival of one of the world’s elite bicycle races, the Giro d’Italia.
The Giro build-up started in February this year when a series of Giro d’Italia roadshows were organised by NITB across Northern Ireland with more than 800 public, private and community sector representatives attending to hear about how they could get involved as Susie McCullough, NITB’s Director of Business Support and Events, said: “Landmarks, buildings, and businesses have been given a pink makeover including cricket kits in Armagh and even Northern Ireland favourite Yellowman is to turn pink for the occasion while the Young Farmers Association is creating a massive bike art-work in a field.
“Cycle shops, hairdressers and opticians have bike-themed displays in their windows while attractions and buildings such as Belfast City Hall, Ulster Museum, Carrickfergus Castle and the Children of Lir Statue in Ballymena, amongst others, will be illuminated in pink. Many bars, restaurants, hotels and B&Bs have pink themed rooms and menus - the list is endless and is growing every day.
“As well as the huge economic benefit, estimated at around £2.5 million, we will also have the chance to welcome 140,000 visitors and a global TV audience of almost 800 million. It really is a golden opportunity for our country to shine.
“As the Giro d’Italia winners’ jersey is pink, this colour has been central to our overall dressing plans. It’s a very colourful way of showing our support for the event and welcoming the riders to Northern Ireland.
“We provided local authorities with a Giro Dressing Kit to dress one or more of their key sites. The kits included things like small staked Freddie Fortes (the Giro mascot), medium sized Freddies and Large Freddies, Giro bunting, balloons, Giro branded continuous roll, window vinyls, pink foam hands and pink ponchos.
“The Giro d’Italia is one of the biggest sporting events ever to be held in Northern Ireland and we are sure that, by thinking pink, the world will be left in no doubt that Northern Ireland has fully embraced the spirit of this famous international sporting occasion” continued Susie.
The event will be watched on TV by almost 800 million people, via helicopter cameras that will beam pictures of Northern Ireland all over the globe.
“This is a pivotal moment for Northern Ireland tourism and it is really inspiring to see how the country has got behind the race. We are sure that the 200 riders taking part, the thousands of visitors and the millions of TV viewers in over 170 countries around the world, will be charmed by images of Northern Ireland” said Susie McCullough. “Those watching on TV will see stunning scenery and iconic buildings, towns and villages awash with pink and streets lined with thousands of spectators who have embraced the race.
“Visitors will enjoy the warmth and hospitality of our people, make use of our wonderful infrastructure including our great air, road and rail links, and will leave a lasting impression on the expected 140,000 visitors to Northern Ireland.”
Visit the Giro hub at www.discovernnorthernireland.com/GiroHub where you can read the latest news, social updates and event information or for more information on the Giro d’Italia in Northern Ireland visit www.discovernorthernireland.com/Giro2014.
This event is supported by NITB and part funded by the European Regional Development Fund under the European Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland.