Hundreds of thousands of travel professionals will be in London this week for World Travel Market (WTM). Visitors to the event include everyone from B&B owners to rental car companies to representatives from cities and countries looking to increase tourism to their part of the world.
Over the last few years, the links between tourism and yacht racing promotion have been growing. There is real evidence to suggest that some professional sailing events do generate net gains for inbound tourism and many series are actively looking for new venues to partner with. It’s always interesting to see how the PR matches the reality when it comes to some of these partnerships, and WTM is a great way to see just how integrated the campaigns get.
In 2008 and 2009, yachtsponsorship.com visited World Travel Market to see how big sailing/tourism partnerships are being positioned to the travel trade. While governments and cities might be investing heavily, there has been little activation of these deals at places like WTM. The people responsible for selling major events in Valencia, Andalusia, Oman and Miami had no visibility of yacht racing events planned in coming months. New Zealand did a little bit better, with Louis Vuitton Pacific Cup news available from the official Tourism website.
In 2010, we will be especially interested to see how Alicante, Barcelona, Perth, Abu Dhabi, Oman, London (Weymouth & Portland) and San Francisco are positioning their destinations. San Diego wouldn’t normally be on the list, but a press release sent out last week suggests the RC44 event, scheduled for March 2011 hopes to have a positive tourism impact.
While the RC44 series primarily exists for it’s owner-drivers, it is selling a new event in San Diego as a spectacle for ‘race fans’. The RC 44 Cup will be supported by the SD Tourism Marketing District, a non-profit group dedicated to improving San Diego tourism and event organisers Sailing Events Association San Diego (SEA SD) has a board that includes representatives of the Lodging Industry Association and 98 Super Bowl Host Committee.
John Laun, President and CEO of SEA SD says:
“We’re excited to be bringing the RC 44 event to San Diego in 2011. San Diegans are huge fans of sailing and the RC 44 event will be a highly competitive international regatta bringing the best sailors in the world to America’s Finest City. The new Port Pavilion at the Broadway Pier will be a spectacular venue for race fans to view these races.”
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