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Green Dragon

Taoiseach, Brian Cowen TD, along with representatives from Fáilte Ireland, the Volvo Ocean Race, and Let’s Do It Global, this week welcomed the announcement that Galway has been selected as the finishing port for the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12.

The Taoiseach emphasised:

“The 2009 Stopover in Galway made an abiding impression on the sailors, support crews, organisers and media who were immersed in the warmth of an Irish welcome.

“Their presence, in turn, had an enormous beneficial impact on Galway, the West of Ireland and indeed the entire country. Their arrival here was spectacular and their visit helped generate a massive €55m for the regional economy, more than one third higher than the original projections.

“Given its economic benefits and its importance to Irish tourism, I am more than happy to welcome the return of the Volvo Ocean Race to our shores and pledge our support for the event”.

Galway fought an intense contest against the other bidding ports to win back the event for a second time and, importantly, the Volvo Ocean Race will complete its lap around the globe in Galway, where the final prizegiving will be held.

This announcement completes the list of European cities hosting the event.  The remaining ports will be introduced throughout March.

The announcement can be attributed in part to the success of the stopover in Galway during May 2009 which fuelled the public imagination as never before. Over 600,000 supporters visited the race village during the stopover, with the crowd peaking at 62,000 people on in-port race day alone.  The seaside resort of Salthill drew a further crowd of 120,000 to watch the dramatic close combat race from the shoreline.

Galway’s ‘home town boat’ in 2008, Green Dragon, became Ireland’s second entry in the race – the first was NCB Ireland in1989-90.  Double Olympic medallist, Ian Walker, guided the team to a fifth place finish overall and claimed the third spot on the podium when the fleet crossed the finish in Galway, delighting the huge crowd that had gathered to welcome them.

Welcoming the return of the Volvo Ocean Race to Galway, our Chairman, Redmond O’Donoghue pointed out:

“This is a great boost for tourism and we in Fáilte Ireland are delighted to be once more involved in supporting this event. As we saw last year, this festival certainly had a significant economic impact. Also, significantly, the pictures from Galway which were beamed all around the world strengthened Ireland’s image as a must-visit destination for tourists as well as our reputation for hosting future world class sporting events.

“Through our International Sports Tourism Initiative we will be supporting the stopover event through an investment of €4m over two years.  Events such as this provide us with the ideal calling card to showcase our two strongest assets – our beautiful coastal landscapes and friendly people.”

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