Saturday 21 September 2019

Dublin city chiefs won't bid for 2019 Tall Ships festival due to cost of €3m

The Italian ship ‘Amerigo Vespucci’ at the Dublin Tall Ships Races Festival in 2012
The Italian ship ‘Amerigo Vespucci’ at the Dublin Tall Ships Races Festival in 2012

Martin Grant and Emma Jane Hade

Dublin city chiefs will not be bidding to host the Tall Ships Races - one of Europe's biggest festivals - in four years because they say it costs too much.

Almost 1.3 million visitors descended upon the city for the four-day festival when it last docked here in 2012. However, Dublin City Council (DCC) bosses have confirmed they will not be placing a bid to host it in 2019 as they believe the €3m price tag is too much.

Organisers of the event, Sail Training International (STI), expressed their disappointment when the "bid did not arrive" and they said it is "a missed opportunity".

"Dublin is a vibrant city and was the perfect host. We hope to bring one of our Tall Ships events back to Ireland in the future," they added.

Richard Guiney, CEO of business group Dublin Town, said the last time the festival was held here in 2012 it attracted large numbers to the capital. "It is disappointing that the event will not be returning," he added.

In a pitch to businesses in 2012, DCC boasted that the maritime event would attract at least 3,000 crew members on board as many as 100 ships from all around the globe.

They also said that the budget required would be between €3m and €4m, but that the "economic impact, as per STI" was estimated at being between €30 to €75m.

The race attracted as many as 430,000 people to Waterford when it stopped there in 2011 and it also visited Belfast this summer. DCC also previously promised the business community that they would benefit from "increased revenue and sale" from the event.

Last night, they said the €3m it would cost to host the event "represents a very significant funding implication for DCC".

"We did give some consideration with the support of the Port Company and Sail Training Ireland to the possibility of bidding for the event in 2019.

However, we have decided not to proceed with such a bid but we are not ruling it out in future years," a spokesperson said.

They added that €3m is greater than their existing budget for events and festivals for a full year.

Irish Independent

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