The Volvo Ocean Race left Galway in Ireland on Saturday afternoon with a spectacular windy start. The Irish are known for their hospitality and by any measure the Volvo Ocean Race circus in town has brought huge economic benefits with it – at least for Galway.
The crowd numbers for the fortnight of the stopover have been announced. At least one part of the UK is still interested in the race. Up to 8,000 people turned up in the middle of the night as the fleet arrived with a further flotilla of 500 on the water.
The in-port race last weekend drew 62,000 people to the race village alone. Failte Ireland, the national tourism board, predicted that 200,000 people would visit the race village while the race was in town. Figures released today show that an estimated 420,000 people attended.
It’s a similar story on economic impact. A report ahead of the race forecasted that the city would be boosted to the tune of 43 million euros, but Failte Ireland have since estimated the income at 100 million euros.
From the crews, there has been high praise all round for Galway for a job well done.
Green Dragon skipper Ian Walker led the tributes.
“When I saw the welcome we received on arriving in Galway I was speechless but when we left two weeks’ later it was with tears in my eyes. I knew Galway was a great city and a city that loves to party but never in my wildest dreams did I think Galway and Ireland would take so much to the Volvo Ocean Race.”
On behalf of PUMA, Deppe added:
“Galway deserves a great deal from us because for the two weeks since we arrived they’ve put on a brilliant show. To say its been a party would be an understatement – the statistics for foot traffic through Galway and the race village are truly staggering. What a great model for an ideal stopover, and I’m sure that Galway is one that the race organizers will be taking into serious consideration as the race moves forward and re-invents itself.”
Photo Credit – Rick Tomlinson / Volvo Ocean Race