North Sea cities are invited to submit bids to host the 2018 edition of the largest annual free family festival in Europe: The Tall Ships Races.
Sail Training International, organisers of the annual international Tall Ships Races and Regattas, are continually putting together new events, contracting host cities, planning routes and securing sponsors.
Races are planned four years in advance and the location of the European Tall Ships Races, which are held each summer, rotates on a four-year programme - Baltic, North Sea, North West European waters and Biscay/Iberian Peninsula.
Cities on the North Sea and adjacent waters around Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom are now invited to submit expressions of interest for The Tall Ships Races 2018.
The annual Tall Ships Races deliver millions of visitors, attracted by the spirit, atmosphere and activities of the world class festivals held by the host cities.
The Baltic Tall Ships Races 2013 attracted over nine million visitors who came to see the one hundred vessels from 67 countries, plus 1,800 accredited media - delivering around five million euros of advertising equivalent value.
It also delivered an empowering sail training experience to 9,500 trainees from different backgrounds and 35 different nationalities through ocean sailing.
Gwyn Brown, Chief Operating Officer at Sail Training International said, "The economic impact on the cities of hosting such an event speaks for itself. In Szczecin, Poland - the final port of The Tall Ships Races 2013 - the statistics showed tourists spent up to 114.25 million euros equivalent during the course of the event.
"Surveys showed that residents thought the event had improved the image of the city and, as well as bringing in new income for local companies, it made it more attractive to potential new investors. 75% of visitors spent more than two days in the city, with 87% saying they wanted to return. And an overwhelming 97% of residents said they wanted to see another Tall Ships Race event in their city.
"And it's not just the cities which benefit enormously, Europe's largest outward bound participatory event provides a life-changing platform for thousands of young people, of all nationalities, to take part each year."
Paul Bishop, Head of the Race Directorate at Sail Training International explained how the process works.
"Planning for a new race series starts four years in advance with sea areas and geographical limits being set by the Boards of Directors of Sail Training International's subsidiary companies, which are responsible for the events.
"The Board of Directors will select four or five host cities from those that register their interest with us by the deadline of September 2015. They will look at race course options from the cities that have submitted bids; the commercial pros and cons of each bidding city will also be taken into account to ensure a successful race series for all."
To register your interest contact Paul Bishop at Sail Training International on +44 (0)2392 586 367.
The 2018 host ports will be announced in November 2015.