Cities and tourism authorities around the world are waking up. Sailing means big business. Whether it is a Volvo stopover, an Olympic Class Regatta, the venue for the America’s Cup or a round of the Ishares Cup – sailing competitors and fans as tourists are passionate, high-spending, enjoy new experiences and often stimulate other tourism. Their direct benefit to a destination is cash – their indirect benefit can be years of follow-on tourists.
Sport tourism is a multi-billion dollar business, one of the fastest growing areas of the $4.5 trillion global travel and tourism industry. With confidence down and competition rising, the economies of cities, regions and even countries around the world are increasingly reliant on the visiting golfer, skier or sailor or the travelling football, motorsport or sailing supporter. In some countries, sport can account for as much as 25 percent of all tourism receipts.
Sport tourism is now a tool to make achieve many things – to make-money, create thousands of new jobs and even help change cultural perceptions such as in the Middle East.
OC Events, organisers of the iShares Cup Extreme 40 Sailing Series, is now considering host venue applications for 2010 and beyond.
Over 70 venues around the globe have already expressed their interest in staging an Extreme 40 event either as part of the expanding European iShares Cup circuit or as part of the planned Extreme 40 Sailing Series in Asia Pacific and the Middle East regions. In the Middle East, organisers have already tested the waters with an Arabian Extreme 40 circuit held in Dubai and Oman.
OC Group’s Commercial Director, John McKenna says:
“The interest we have received from venues is quite unprecedented. The formula is highly attractive for host venues as a Destination Marketing and Entertainment package. The format is really working with large numbers of public getting fully involved in this spectacular racing held just meters from the shore and enjoying the facilities of the Race Village, while media and VIPs get looked after exceptionally well in our waterside Media Centre and VIP Lounge and of course get the rare chance to take part in the racing as “5th man”.
Looking forward we will continue to expand in Europe and on top of this, and possibly as soon as this coming winter, we will be taking the full Extreme 40 Sailing Series concept to Asia and the Middle East for the first time. Previously we have only ever done demonstration events there but now it’s time for the real thing!
This is our focus for next year but we are not discounting venues outside of Asia and the Middle East – our long-term plan is to make this series one of very few truly global, annual and top-level professional events in the sport. With this in mind we urge interested venues to contact us now, if they haven’t already.”