Jacqui Swan and guide dog Twigs (centre) from Guide Dogs NI with (L-R) Mark Hazelton, Tourism NI; Lesley Macauley, Fundraising Manager, Guide Dogs NI and Ruth Morgan, Tourism NI.

Jacqui Swan and guide dog Twigs (centre) from Guide Dogs NI with (L-R) Mark Hazelton, Tourism NI; Lesley Macauley, Fundraising Manager, Guide Dogs NI and Ruth Morgan, Tourism NI.
Jacqui Swan and guide dog Twigs (centre) from Guide Dogs NI with (L-R) Mark Hazelton, Tourism NI; Lesley Macauley, Fundraising Manager, Guide Dogs NI and Ruth Morgan, Tourism NI.

A team of eleven cyclists representing Tourism NI will take part in the Gran Fondo this Sunday in support of Guide Dogs NI.

Tourism NI has been working closely with the organisers to deliver the Gran Fondo which is a major legacy event following last year’s highly successful Giro d’Italia.

Over 3,000 people have registered, with 20% of cyclists coming from outside Northern Ireland.  It will be a weekend of celebrating cycling with a distinctive Italian touch reflecting the pink theme of the Giro.

This is the first time that Northern Ireland will host the Gran Fondo and it will be supported by Tourism NI again in 2016 and 2017.

Northern Ireland will benefit from integration in a global communications strategy which contains strong cross messaging between the Giro and the Gran Fondo series.

Tourism NI expects the event will increase awareness of Northern Ireland as a premium cycling and tourism destination, create immediate economic impact with riders and their families filling local hotels and restaurants and increase Northern Ireland’s share of overseas visitors

Mark Hazelton, Tourism NI Manager of Business, Planning and Improvement has signed up to complete the 173 km ride along the Mourne Route.  He said, “This is not for the feint hearted but both myself and many of my colleagues are definitely up for the challenge.  It’s a great opportunity for all cycling enthusiasts to experience some of the Giro routes for themselves and enjoy the freedom and thrills of riding on closed roads through some of Northern Ireland’s most spectacular scenery”.

“Doing this for a good cause is extremely motivating and it’s great that our efforts will be rewarded through fundraising for Guide Dogs NI as every penny raised will make a life changing difference to people who are blind or partially sighted.”

Lesley Macauley, Fundraising Manager, Guide Dogs NI said,

“Guide Dogs NI are delighted to be working with Tourism NI as charity partner. At Guide Dogs NI we’re here to make sure that when someone loses their sight they don’t lose their freedom as well. As our work is entirely funded by public donation, our partnership with Tourism NI will raise much needed funds, but we are also working closely with the team to advise on how Northern Ireland can become a truly accessible destination for people living with sight loss from all over the world. We wish the Tourism NI team the best of luck in completing their routes in Sunday’s Gran Fondo.”

Tourism NI GF challenge Pic 3

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