The pressure is onto the Three Sisters’ bid to see off Galway and Limerick in the European City of Culture bid for 2020, with the bid deadline set for June 17th and a decision due in July.
County rivalries have been set aside in the south east as part of the big push to overcome what are being widely considered elsewhere as Waterford, Wexford and Kilkenny’s more substantial rivals for the bid.
However, the port town of Rijeka, near the Italian border won the 2020 Croatia City of Culture final showdown against what was widely perceived as a stronger rival in Dubrovnik.
Last year, the former industrial city of Mons in Belgium, a city of 90,000 won against stronger rivals and gave the area a huge uplift, attracting two million visitors said Waterford’s City & County’s Michael Quinn, who is the Three Sisters’ bid director.
“Having three counties involved gives the area uniqueness and more variety that could appeal to longer stay visitors, both nationally and internationally,” he said.
Having a greater variety of festivals and events which can be put forward in the south east come 2020 is also a significant feather in the Three Sisters’ cap. The potential boost for tourism in terms of bed nights is considerable, in Mr Quinn’s view. Just look what
The challenge for the people of Waterford and the south east and the organisers is to raise the profile of the bid and build further public support. It should be a hot topic in schools, workplaces, coffee shops, pubs, sports clubs and everywhere basically.
Many ambassadors are out there pushing it, including Waterford’s Niamh Briggs and Kilkenny’s Brian Cody. The first continental settlers landed in Wexford and Waterford and the historical aspect of the region will form a major part of the final push to win the bid over the next two months.
The lessons from previous winners like Liverpool and Cork are very instructive, with potentially as much as €30 million coming into the regional economy.
And with that comes the potential
We might see many new art and tourism entrepreneurs take the plunge into business, according to Mary McCarthy, who was involved in the Cork City of Culture back in 2005.
So let’s hope the south east shows some enthusiasm, confidence and a ‘can do’ attitude in the coming weeks. Winning the bid would be great for regional pride and ensure future economics success if the Three Sisters’ application gets over the line. If schools, for example, can embrace the Three Sisters message as it did the 1916 ceremonials, that too would provide a further push.