Foster: NW200 major tourism draw for Northern Ireland

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 24/3/2015: Vauxhall International North West 200 Event Director Mervyn Whyte pictured with Ryan Farquhar, Dean Harrison and Alastair Seeley and the Monster girls at the race launch in Titanic, Belfast today.'PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 24/3/2015: Vauxhall International North West 200 Event Director Mervyn Whyte pictured with Ryan Farquhar, Dean Harrison and Alastair Seeley and the Monster girls at the race launch in Titanic, Belfast today.'PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
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The North West 200 is showcasing Northern Ireland on the international stage, Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster has said.

Speaking at the official race launch at Titanic Belfast, Arlene Foster said: “Year after year the NW200 continues to bring massive positive exposure for Northern Ireland on an international stage and generates substantial visitor numbers and spend. The facts speak for themselves. Results taken from a recent independent economic impact study show in 2012 the North West 200 attracted nearly 50,000 visitors, generating an economic return of £2million to the Northern Ireland economy.

“I am committed to the success of tourism and my Department through Tourism NI aims to develop, attract and support events, which are capable of generating visitor expenditure, visitor numbers and give Northern Ireland a starring role on the global stage. Our goal is to consolidate the unprecedented success that has been achieved over the last few years and turn tourism into a £1billion industry by 2020. Events such as the North West 200 can help us realise these ambitions.”

Arlene Foster continued: “As the pinnacle of international road racing, the NW200 consistently attracts huge crowds to the North Coast. It has matured into an appealing sporting and family festival with significant international credentials, showcasing our breath-taking road racing facilities, sensational coastline and talented sports personalities.

“It is testament to the hard work and dedication of the event organisers that the NW200 is capable of attracting so many fans and visitors not only at home but from all around the world. I commend them for their support and I am confident that they will deliver another superb week of premier road racing and family entertainment.”