The city if Derry has won a vote to become the first UK City of Culture – potentially exposing the destination a new global tourism audience.
Located in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, the city beat off competition from Birmingham, Norwich and Sheffield to take the title.
Mayor of Derry, Colum Eastwood, said the city’s success will have a massive impact on the people and economy of the city and paid tribute to everyone who played a part in the winning campaign.
“As First Citizen I am privileged to be in a position where I have had an insight into the massive amount of work that has gone into this successful bid.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the agencies, organisations and individuals from our cultural champions to our citizens who have helped with the bid.”
In the run up to its selection, Derry proposed a programme of celebration and purposeful inquiry.
The year will open with a spectacular Sons and Daughters event, a contemporary music and dance festival, an international festival of contemporary visual art events, cultural embassies programme, verbal arts programmes, and an outdoor water based spectacular pageant on the River Foyle celebrating the return of Colmcille.
The final cultural programme will be finalised by November 2011.
Cultural champions including Seamus Heaney and Feargal Sharkey will help bring culture to every citizen in the city and to a wider international audience.
Derry-Londonderry has plans to invest more than £200 million in its infrastructure to create a national cultural treasure at Ebrington and pursue World Heritage Status for the City Walls.
The year of culture will ultimately create over 3,000 jobs, double visitor numbers and reach out to communities across Northern Ireland, the UK, RoI and the nine million Diaspora worldwide.