London, June 20 (IANS) The Olympic Torch Relay is a "great chance" to show off the North West and celebrate the role that people, places and businesses from the region are playing in London 2012, said Britain's culture secretary Jeremy Hunt.
"With the Torch Relay making its lap around the North West, it's a great chance to showcase more of the region's stunning countryside, iconic attractions and world famous towns and cities. I am sure that locals and tourists alike will turn out in their thousands to welcome the torch and enjoy a carnival atmosphere," Hunt was quoted as saying by Xinhua.
"But it's not all about the party - the Olympic Games will leave a serious legacy too. Old Trafford hosting the football events is expected to bring in around 30 million pounds for the local economy."
The Relay has already been through Chester, Bolton and Liverpool and will on Wednesday enter the North West again before leaving the region on June 24. There will be evening celebrations in Carlisle, Bowness-on-Windermere, Blackpool and Manchester.
The Olympic Flame's route will include 90 communities and a range of iconic attractions and landmarks, passing through the Lake District National Park, travelling on a steamer boat across Windermere, and taking in the Blackpool Tower and the Royal Lytham Golf Club.
The North West has already played a key role in preparing for the Games.
The region has seven Pre-Games training camps confirmed covering teams from 22 different nations from every continent, including the Australian Olympic swimming team, and the American basketball teams, who will both train in Manchester-based facilities.
The North West will also play host to Olympic football, taking place at Old Trafford. Team GB men will play their first match versus Senegal at Old Trafford, July 26. Brazil and Spain have also been confirmed to play at Old Trafford.
In total the venue will host nine matches over seven match days including the semifinal for the men's and women's competitions. It is projected that hosting the Olympic football will generate an economic benefit of around 30 million pounds for Greater Manchester.