Partner Key Insights: Economic impact and Derry-Londonderry


Major events draw significant visitor numbers to destinations according to research carried out by London & Partners and SMG/YouGov.

Its results state that one in three people would be attracted to travel to an international city because of a major event. Also, according to, sports tourism events at the international, national and regional levels have a double-barrelled effect due to the attendance of the competitors and/or spectators and accompanying persons, and the indirect effect of the marketing of the destination which leads to the subsequent tourism flows.

The nine-day Foyle Maritime Festival which wrapped around the Clipper 2015-16 Race stopover proved the fact that these types of events have a big impact on the local economy. The festival attracted more than 163,000 people and resulted in a £3.5million boost to the local economy. Hotel occupancy peaked at 97%, the highest level ever recorded in the city, while 25% of visitors were international.

Economic impact of events is a subject universities have been researching in detail since the 1990s. “Fans and tourists bring in money that normally wouldn't be there,” says ProfessorSimon Shibli, Head of Sports Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University. “This money benefits accommodation providers, local travel, shops – even car parks.”

Clipper Race stopovers, and major sporting events such as the Rio 2016 Olympics, 2014 British Open Golf Championships, 2015 Rugby World Cup, and the Giro D’Italia, to provide a few examples, make a multi-million pound difference to local economies and also help promote their hosts as attractive tourism destinations.

“The Giro D’Italia in Northern Ireland stimulated increased cycling and created more interest in the country as an activity holiday destination,” says LesBudd, a reader in social enterprise at The Open University Business School.

According to the government, sport is estimated to be worth almost £34 billion a year to the UK’s economy, and major sporting events play a significant role in delivering continued growth across many of the UK’s key sectors.

Read more in depth results of the partnership between the Clipper Race and Derry-Londonderry here.