The Tall Ships Races are set to bring millions of pounds into Sunderland’s economy.
And with two other massive events also planned around the same time, the city is set for a calendar of events the like of which has not been seen before.
Exciting times lie ahead for Wearside and they were revealed at the official announcement of the media partners who are on board for the big three - the International Airshow, Sunderland Illuminations and the Tall Ships Races Sunderland 2018.
The Sunderland Echo, BBC Newcastle and Sun FM have been named as media partners and Councillor John Kelly, Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Wellness and Culture at Sunderland City Council, explained more about the impact the programme could have for the city.
“These events are going to bring three to four million people over the year. It’s an opportunity for us to showcase what the city has to offer,” he said.
And speaking about next year’s Tall Ships Races, Councillor Kelly added: “The fact that Sunderland and the North East is a maritime region, there is a degree of romance to it.
These events are going to bring three to four million people over the year. It’s an opportunity for us to showcase what the city has to offerJohn Kelly
“We will be welcoming new visitors and the crews and the participants to Sunderland.”
When asked about the potential impact on the town’s economy, Councillor Kelly said: “We have had estimates of between £10m and £15m coming in to the city. It is a massive investment.”
He said hotels, bars, taxis and other businesses would all benefit from the investment in the city and it won’t just be Sunderland city centre itself which will stage events as part of the races.
It won’t just be about the ships either. There will be dance, music, acting and there will be lots of opportunities right across the city with places such as Houghton, Washington and Silksworth among the many places to benefit.
Victoria French, head of events at Sunderland City Council, said: “It is about adding to the signatory events that we have in the city.
“We have not had a programme like this, where we had such significant events happening in a close period of time.
“Two weeks after Tall Ships next year, we will have the 30th airshow.
“Sunderland and the North East will be the place to visit next summer.”
Eighty ships are expected to sign up for the Sunderland leg of next year’s Tall Ships Races and Victoria added: “We are working closely with Sail Training International who are key to helping us promote Sunderland as the start port, and encouraging ships to sign up.”
Watch out for much more coverage of The Tall Ships Races in a weekly feature which will start in the Sunderland Echo next week (the ‘one year to go’ milestone), and continue all the way up to next year’s spectacular event.