Do you have a town or city next to water? Do you want to attract people to your hotels, restaurants and shops? Are you looking for sources of economic stimulus? Then the evidence suggests you should run a yacht race.
The Pure Michigan Bayview Mackinac Race is expected to contribute $59.5 Million into Michigan’s economy this summer according to an independent study.
Economist David Littmann said:
“The estimated economic value of the Bayview Mackinac race under the finest weather and travel conditions is estimated at $59.5 million. Even with sub-optimal weather conditions overall spending associated with the race, both direct and indirect, is approximately $30.4 million.”
Bayview Yacht Club Commodore Dr. Robert Amsler:
“We initiated the study this spring to quantify the general impact of the race. We believe it is important given today’s challenging economy to demonstrate the value this premier sailing event has on our state.”
“We always knew the race had a substantial impact on Michigan’s economy given the fact we draw people from 20 states and several countries to participate, and sail and vacation in Michigan before and after the race itself. Until now we had no tangible proof of the contribution the race generates on so many levels.”
It is a growing trend for destinations to use yacht races as symbols of tourism. As well as the economic benefit, some cities and regions are using sailing to position their tourism industries to a wider audience. Think of the Oman Sail project or Abu Dhabi’s sponsorship of the current Superyacht Cup.
Travel Michigan Vice President George Zimmermann.
“The race is a perfect fit with our highly successful Pure Michigan national advertising campaign. The campaign is designed to introduce the nation to the attributes that make Michigan such a popular and unique destination. This sailing race helps draw attention to the exceptional beauty of Michigan’s waterways and 3,200 miles of fresh water shoreline.”
The Bayview economic impact study factored in initial spend and residual economic impacts associated with the race including direct outlays encompassing:
- Room nights: During the weekend of the race, all 1,000 hotel-motel rooms in the Greater Port Huron area are booked. The approximately 1,500 rooms available on Mackinac Island are also taken. In addition, there are spillover room nights booked on the mainland, in Mackinac City and elsewhere. Many sailors also participate in the Harbor Springs regattas after the Mackinac Race.
- Food & Beverage: For many days, the 40 restaurants and bars on Mackinac Island are generally full. A similar phenomenon occurs in Port Huron, the race’s origin.
- Souvenirs and Awards: Most participants will purchase numerous items, such as volunteer t-shirts, hats, skipper bags, banners, flags and other products.
- Boat Prepping & Take Down: The average outlay per boat for safety gear alone is nearly $10,000. Moreover, there are significant expenditures attendant to the launch and return or storage of the fleet,which normally incorporates 200-plus vessels.
- Advertising & Media Value: For the first time in the 85-year history of the Port Huron- to-Mackinac race, viewers will have access to GPS tracking (a global positioning system) with which to follow the racing entrants. Considering the growing popularity of the race and its technology, it would be conservative to expect some 12 million web-page hits from around the world. When Chicago’s Mackinac race showcased GPS for its viewers in 2008, it received 25 million web views.
- Fuel, Fees, Miscellaneous.
More than 200 journalists from at least six nations – including photographers and videographers – cover the regatta and events for newspapers, magazines, websites, cable, wire services, radio, TV, blogs and special interest publications. There are 350 media guides distributed to media outlets in Michigan and out-of-state, with stories hitting the wire for entry into 46 North American and 100 foreign sailing and boating publications.
The Bayview Yacht Club web site, www.byc.com, generally draws a million page views for the race; up to 20 million page views are expected to hit the michigan.org Web site where the GPS tracking link for the 2009 race will be located.