BRITS, Turner, Clipper race and Culture 2013 will put us on the map: Foster

TOURISM Minister Arlene Foster believes a “hugely exciting” time lies ahead for Londonderry in 2012/13 and says her Department is placing events such as the Clipper yacht race in 2012 - Londonderry will hold a host port festival - and the UK City of Culture 2013 to the forefront of its efforts to raise the profile of Northern Ireland globally.

Asked if there has been a cross-departmental approach to maximise the benefits of these events the Minister replied: “Some time ago, I asked my permanent secretary to chair a committee to look at 2012 initially, but then 2013 became an important year for us as well, and from his perspective, 2011 as well with the Clipper 2011-12 round-the-world yacht race.”

“It starts towards the end of this year, and we are coming to a time when we need to make the most of what is coming towards us, not least with regard to the City of Culture designation.”

Addressing the Assembly as its mandate ended she said: “During my last Question Time, I said that the Turner Prize, the Brit Awards and all those big events coming to the city would put it on the map, not just in UK terms but in European and global terms, because so many people look at those events.

“A hugely exciting time is coming for the northwest, particularly in relation to 2013, and I hope that we can get the momentum going from now on — from the end of this year, right up to 2013 — and enjoy everything that is coming towards us.”