Fáilte Ireland, through the International Sports Tourism Initiative, has become the premier sponsor of Cork Week 2004, hosted by the Royal Cork Yacht Club from 10-16 July.
Fáilte Ireland has supported Cork Week since 2000 and will this year invest €120,000 in sponsorship funding. Fáilte Ireland is targeting sailing and water sports as a tourism niche with great potential for growth in Ireland.
Cork Week is a biennial sailing regatta held in Crosshaven, Co. Cork, which attracts entrants from across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Over 600 yachts from all classes converge on Cork for a week of racing, entertainment and Munster hospitality against the spectacular backdrop of Cork Harbour.
Commenting on the sponsorship, John O'Donoghue T.D., Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism said,
"Ireland has excellent year round natural sailing conditions with over 5,600 km of scenic coastline and hundreds of lakes and rivers. Fáilte Ireland has identified sailing and water sports in general as a very important tourism attraction for Ireland and one with particular potential for growth. We are now making a concerted effort to ensure that Ireland is placed firmly to the forefront of the minds of the international sailing community as a quality destination.
"Cork Week is an ideal opportunity to deliver this message as it places Ireland's top class sailing facilities in the world's shop window and reaffirms our position as an ideal venue for international sailing events of all types. For this reason Fáilte Ireland is delighted to continue, and indeed increase, its support of this spectacular regatta through the International Sports Tourism Initiative and wish the organisers another successful year".
Sponsorship funding for Cork Week 2004 and other major high-profile sports events in Ireland, is provided by the International Sports Tourism Initiative, which was introduced by the Government in 2000 and is co-ordinated by Fáilte Ireland.
The Initiative identifies and sponsors sporting events which have the capacity to further enhance the image of Ireland as a major sports tourist destination.
Fáilte Ireland's support for sailing and other water sport activities has included Ireland's hosting of the European Fireball Championships in 2000, the World Laser and Laser Master Championships in 2001, the Formula 1 Powerboat World Championships in 2002 the now annual PWA Ireland Wave and UKWA Windsurfing tournaments as well as the biennial BMW Round Ireland Race.