Derry City Council delegation make waves in California

Thu, 12/04/2012 - 19:08 -- Editor

A City delegation is in California this week to promote business and tourism links with the city. 

The delegation comprising of Derry City Council’s CEO, Sharon O’Connor, Chair of Development Committee, Cllr Martin Reilly and Digital Champion Mark Nagurski aim to strengthen international connections during the Clipper 11-12 International Yacht Race visit to San Francisco.

 Derry City Councillor, Martin Reilly said: “We are going to project the message that the city is open for business and we wish to grow our international connections with digital, tourism and media interests. As the inaugural UK City of Culture 2013 and have a transformation agenda that has already activated more than £100 million into the local economy. This is our time to look for new ideas and initiatives with international partners”.

 While the local crew are making waves with the Clipper fleet the city delegation is also hopeful for early results from the San Francisco visit. CEO of Derry City Council, Sharon O’Connor continued:

“We’ve identified a series of relationships that we wish to build upon and we’ll meet over one hundred individuals and organisations during our visit this week. The media interest in the San Francisco Bay area has been positive, giving us ample opportunity to promote all that the city has to offer. There’s an opportunity to build connections for investment, grow our digital sector and promote our unique connections so we can in turn attract investment and new business opportunities. Our business development team are encouraged by the interest and the response”.

 Ms O’Connor added that the delegation would be promoting the fact that Derry~Londonderry has the distinction of being the first city in the UK and Ireland to have superfast broadband connections. “Our city is leading cities across the UK by developing superfast broadband connections. When in San Francisco we will be showcasing the city and its international connectivity and promoting the fact that it is the only city in Ireland and the UK to offer one hundred per cent availability of fibre optic broadband connectivity to homes and businesses at speeds doubling to 80Mbps from this year.

“Our pace of advancement is ahead of other cities across the UK and we’re getting our message out there that our city is the perfect location for investment and to do business. We have a head start on other cities in that the city’s international communications network is Project Kelvin, a €30m investment linking the city via a submarine cable to a 22 mile offshore cable at Hibernia North Atlantic, offering the perfect opportunity to build and expand international operations while reducing costs.”

“Forty per cent of our population is under 35 and we have an obvious talent pool of energetic youths with vision and ambition and we fully intend to take advantage of these attributes to ensure we reap the benefits of this visit to the US,” she concluded.

And while there is no place like home for the Diaspora community it is hoped the renewed developments in the city and business growth in the region may also generate new reasons for this community to reconnect with the North West of Ireland and for increased visitors.

The city already has positive appeal fur us tourism with over 20% of all visitors to the tourist information centre in the city from North America. The US visitor spending profile on average is higher than those from other countries and with the City of Culture in 2013 there is a growing strength to the city’s international appeal.

Cllr Martin Reilly concluded: “We’ve been very encouraged by the response from the ex-pat community who have made their home in San Francisco and yet still retain a connection and belief in the city. The number of people from the city and region who have shown support to the Clipper team has been fantastic. We hope this visit helps renew connections and put a visit to Derry~Londonderry during 2013 as a confirmed date in their diary.”

The delegation is in San Francisco from Tuesday 10th to Saturday 14th April 2012 and you can find out more by visiting www.derrycity.gov.uk/clipper or follow us on FACEBOOK at https://www.facebook.com/DerryLondonderryClipper.