Belfast is to play host to the world’s biggest gathering of Vespa enthusiasts next summer.
The annual Vespa World Days extravaganza, which celebrates the heritage and culture which has grown up around the iconic scooter brand, will take place in the Titanic Quarter over the weekend of 14 – 17 June.
Up to 5,000 Vespa owners from at least 40 different countries are expected to descend on the city, bringing with them an estimated £7.7 million in economic benefit as they fill between 20,000 and 70,000 bed nights.
Vespa World Days trace their roots back to 1954, when the first ever inter-European Vespa Rally was held in Paris. Rebranded in 2007, this is only the second time that the biggest annual event on the international scootering calendar has been held in the United Kingdom.
Announcing details of the 2018 event, the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Nuala McAllister said:
“Belfast is absolutely delighted to be the host city for the 2018 Vespa World Days, and I congratulate the Ulster Vespa Club for their successful bid to host the event.
“This promises to be a unique and spectacular event, with thousands of Vespas taking to the streets, as well as the Titanic slipways, and it will be a great opportunity for people of all ages to adventure into the culture and heritage of Vespa, while adding to Belfast’s own cultural offering, and I am sure people will scoot on down to see the spectacle that is Vespa World Days.”
The Vespa World Days 2018 will centre around a specially constructed ‘Vespa Village’, based at Titanic Belfast. Over the four days, there will be a wide range of special events, exhibitions and live entertainment as well as ‘ride outs’ and a cavalcade of all the participating scooterists from the Titanic Quarter to Carrickfergus Castle.
Vespa World Days is supported by Belfast City Council, Titanic Belfast and Visit Belfast, and sponsored by MKB Law.
Anne Marie Kelly, Director at MKB Law, said: “We are proud and excited to be associated with such a fantastic event. The Titanic and Vespa brands are renowned worldwide, and we look forward to witnessing the two combined next year in Belfast!”
The event will also have two official charities: Air Ambulance Northern Ireland and the East Belfast Mission.