We’re off to World Travel Market in London today. The event is a huge trade show dedicated to the business of destinations using all means necessary to obtain a share of the world travel expenditure. From conferences to major events, from bed and breakfasts to billion dollar resort investments, national, regional and local authorities have budgets dedicated to attract business and tourists to spend money and generate a positive economic impact.
The following article is one we found in the Times of Malta about the Rolex Middle Sea Race…
By Wilfred Sultana (Excerpt – Full article published in Times of Malta)
Sports events are today acknowledged as one of the most effective marketing tools. It is well recognised that sponsorship conveys value through association as well as brand exposure directly with spectators and through the media.
With sports events featuring prominently among the most effective marketing tools, great efforts are made by all concerned to attract such events to their city or country.
The Rolex Middle Sea Race is a 606 nautical mile classic contested by some of the best sailors in the world. From a modest start in 1968, this year’s 30th edition saw 69 yachts representing 20 nations including entries from afar such as the US, Russia and China. Described by participants as ‘the experience of our lives’, the Rolex MSR has grown to become one of the most prominent and best-organised sailing events in Europe, providing huge marketing exposure to all stakeholders.
How real is this icon? Are we overplaying our appraisal?
In this respect I asked for the comments of four well-versed persons whose involvement and experience in the subject is respected and recognised.
Ben Stuart, general manager, Grand Harbour Marina plc
The Grand Harbour Marina hosts practically all foreign MSR boats. Do you consider this event to be of economic benefit to the country?
“Yes, I would say Malta is truly starting to capitalise on the event now. Most noticeably was the number of professionally-crewed yachts; some 300 people (probably more) who stayed in hotels for a week before the actual race and also for a few days after. Direct input into the local economy also comes in the form of equipment repair and substantial purchases from local chandlers. Furthermore, a number of containers were shipped to Malta by different boats with sails and other gear for the big event. Yes, should this race continue to be utilised further by the MTA the economic benefits will grow significantly.”
Arthur Podesta, the ever-present yachtsman on the 30 MSR editions
How does a foreign team approach the Rolex MSR in terms of logistics, crew recruitment and ensuring that everything is here in good time?
“Participating yachts can be categorised under three types. The first group is normally the big spenders, big yachts of over 60 feet with an unlimited budget. Normally these boats have a permanent crew of two to five and the rest is made up of paid professionally renowned crew. The second and largest group is made up of owners who very often share a boat with a second owner and have a crew of family members and friends. The third group is largely made up of crews who do not have the necessary experience but who are prepared to pay their way and share the expenses for race participation. No doubt, a lot of money is spent in Malta by all these groups”.
Georges Bonello duPuis, Commodore RMYC
Today the Rolex MSR has indisputably attained an exceptional recognition on the international scene. How is this event delivering branding benefits to Malta as host country?
“With a company the stature of Rolex supporting the event our message is promoted around the world through all forms of media. Significantly, Rolex, the Malta Tourism Authority and the Malta Maritime Authority show strong cooperation and work together to make the race an excellent vehicle to promote Malta. The start in Grand Harbour is a tremendous example of what can be achieved when different stakeholders pull together. We place an international fleet of sailing yachts in Malta’s most famous location and, by using the historic guns of the Saluting Battery, we offer the Maltese public and tourists a unique spectacle they will never forget. It is difficult to put a value on Malta’s brand exposure, but when a 26-minute programme on the race is shown globally in 40 countries on channels with the quality of Eurosport, BBC and CNN, it is easy to build a picture of worth.”
Edward Scicluna, yachtsman, economist and MEP
How does the local economy benefit, when a race with the stature of the RMSR is hosted in Malta annually?
“The economics of super-yacht racing puts this activity in a class of its own. Studies estimate an average daily spend per boat of around €5,000. Two-thirds of this is on repairs with the rest on utilities and mooring. Average daily spent by participants varies between €500 for sponsors to €250 for crew members. Friends, crew family members and other visitors spend something in between. Excluding airfares the average daily expense is estimated at around €350, higher than what the average tourist spends during an entire holiday in Malta. With the race being held in late October it has intrinsic advantages of its own. It uses local accommodation facilities during the shoulder period and encourages many yachts to winter in Malta. I would be surprised if an economic study does not find the MSR leaving a total spend of €14 million or more.”