Volvo Ocean Race Move to Alicante Part of Growing Sports Tourism Trend. 1

Sports Tourism is going to be big. You might think that sports tourism is quite big now, but in fact, despite the number of room nights and the value of resturant bills that can be attributed to fans visiting a destination to watch their favourite team or partake in the atmosphere of a major event, the sector hasn’t really been taken very seriously.

While some governments around the world realise the importance of attracting major events to their destinations, there is a disconnect between the marketing and the delivery via tourism businesses. Some governments though are more savvy than others. This site has many examples of major sailing events being used to drive the tourism economies of places like Oman, Andalucia or the Vendee Region of France.

The stakes are high and the destinations that are willing to invest heavily over long periods of time will win out. Take the relocation of the Volvo Ocean Race to Alicante for example… the following is an article from the Volvo Ocean Race website:

‘La Volvo’ had arrived before it even set up its new permanent home on the Mediterranean coast of Spain in Alicante.

In what turned out to be a kid of trial marriage, the start of the 2008-09 race proved to be an instant success with the locals who immediately gave a name to the teams, the boats and the race management.

They called it simply ‘La Volvo’ and the name stuck even when the race was not there, or other events ranging from regattas like the TP52 circuit, or pop concerts, or even horse shows.

After over a decade being housed in Whiteley, just off the M27 motorway running between Southampton and Portsmouth on England’s south coast, what was always a global race is changing culture, and location.

The migration south has been a highly-complex plan involving the race organisation, the city of Alicante and the regional government of Valencia.

Put simply, the race not only has a third consecutive start port in Spain, the whole management of the race, including the all-important operations room, which maintains 24-hour contact with the fleet when it is at sea, is moving home.

The development means a permanent new facet to the waterfront heart of the city, and that has to fit into the plan for the region of Valencia.

The third constituent of the complex is the development of a museum and interactive exhibition centre, which should be a major new tourist attraction in its own right.

In addition, the side of the marina, which was the pre-start pit lane in 2008, will now be available as permanent homes for the teams pre- 2011.

Co-ordinating the move for what will also change from Volvo Event Management UK to Volvo Ocean Race, S.L.U. meant ensuring continuity of all race operations up until 28 November when the previous HQ was returned to the landlords.

One of the advantages for the race has been the close links with the logistical knowledge bank of Volvo’s world base in Sweden and the long-standing presence and business knowledge of Volvo Cars and the truck and bus businesses in Spain.

The big emergency generator on the Whiteley site is unlikely to be put on the back of a removal lorry. And the number of people has gone from a race-on-tour high of up to 80 down to a tickover – even if that tickover rate is still about 10,000 revs a minute – before building back up.

But the four rigid inflatables will travel with the team along with the former Pirates of the Caribbean Volvo Open 70, which, for the time being, will be on permanent display. There will also be the move of the three television edit suites and the radio production room.

What will change will be the whole style in which a safety-based, technology-driven race management organisation draws in the general public.

One of the features of the 2008-09 race start was the number of people who extended their evening and weekend strolls, el paseo, down to the village, the family occasion it became, the school party destination that was so popular.

  • Bravo and we are all looking forward to a bright future…