Three of this year’s Twelfth demonstrations have been selected by the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland for tourist flagship status.
The Twelfths in Enniskillen, Carrickfergus and Ballynahinch have been chosen to get extra support during the run up to the biggest festival in Northern Ireland.
“The three venues impressed the judging panel because of their contacts with their local councils and other stakeholders and with a varied programme of events surrounding the Twelfth demonstration itself.Tourism Minister Arlene Foster said:
“One of the delegations seeking flagship status even brought council officers from their local authority to help lobby for the coveted flagship title. The move was seen as an increasing sign of the high level of co-operation at local level between organising districts and local authorities as well as the status which the title of flagship gives.
“The three districts selected put forward very professional and detailed submissions and clearly a lot of work has already gone into their plans. We look forward to training the Orange Welcome Hosts, who will act as ambassadors for the Orange Institution and its traditions on the Twelfth itself and helping to maximise the benefit which each district will get through conferment of this status.
“This is an Olympic year and the centenary year of the Ulster Covenant as well as the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, so it will be a memorable year generally and we wish Carrickfergus, Ballynahinch and Enniskillen districts every success in their plans.”
“The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland’s announcement today that it has selected Twelfth demonstrations in Enniskillen, Carrickfergus and Ballynahinch as flagship events is welcome news. The Flagship concept focuses on those parades that want to broaden their appeal to attract a tourism audience and I have no doubt that those involved in the three selected demonstrations will provide a varied and vibrant programme of events.“This year offers unprecedented opportunities for tourism and, now that the three Flagship Parades have been selected, they can take their place in the Northern Ireland Tourist Board’s NI 2012 programme, along with the Scarva Sham Fight. The Twelfth of July parades will also be publicised on the NITB’s consumer website www.discovernorthernireland.com“I look forward to attending the Flagship Parade in Enniskillen and wish the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland every success with its preparations for the Twelfth.”