10 July 2010

FIVE FLAGSHIP TWELFTHS SELECTED

Five Twelfth demonstrations have been selected as flagships for the biggest festival in Northern Ireland.

The flagships will be the standard bearers for the 18 demonstrations being organised by the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland on Monday, July 12, 2010.

The five locations are Hillsborough, Portrush, Cookstown, Newtownstewart and Antrim.
The events in those locations have been judged of a high standard in terms of activities and the ability to engage with visitors and tourists.

The selection process included input from the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and Tourism Ireland. Official estimates last year calculated that more than 500,000 people either took part in the parades or enjoyed them as spectators.

The Orange Order Director of Services, Dr. David Hume explained:
 “This is the fifth anniversary of our Twelfth Tourist Flagship programme and we believe that it has been a huge success, Those who apply for flagship status have to undergo a quite rigorous selection process and we believe that it is good for capacity building within the Institution, All of those involved put in a tremendous amount of work and are to be congratulated,” he said.

 “We know that more than half a million people enjoy the Twelfth and there is hard evidence that an increasing number of tourists are planning trips to Northern Ireland at that time of year so they can see the parades. Many people time their visit home to family and friends just to see the Twelfth.
“All of our parades are very important and we will be working with all the organisers to maximise the positive impact of the Twelfth parades. But Grand Lodge decided that we should put an extra special effort into five flagship demonstrations this year.

“The idea behind the Flagship Twelfths is to look at the demonstrations through the eyes of tourists. They will be professionally run events, organised to a high standard. We want to engage directly with tourists and visitors and make them feel welcome.

“Cultural tourism is a growing industry and we are determined that the Orange Order will play its part in developing this sector of business. The Orange Order has been working closely with the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and Tourism Ireland to attract more visitors to the province in July and we appreciate their input. We have built a strong relationship with the tourist authorities. They are the professionals in their world and we have listened to their advice so that we can enhance what is available to the public.”

 The Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Robert Saulters, said:
“The Twelfth is now firmly established on the cultural calendar of Northern Ireland. It is a wonderful event which attracts massive numbers of spectators and participants. There is nothing which can equal the colour, music and pageantry of the Twelfth or indeed the traditions which have made this such an important day to so many people.

“It is also a time when we welcome friends from all around the world and hopefully we will also meet new friends who come to see the spectacle of the Twelfth.”