The Football World Cup Isn’t the Only Major Event In Town.
Yesterday, FIFA announced that the 2018 Football World Cup will be hosted by Qatar. Hosting the event is seen as being a way of generating tourism and other economic benefits as well as providing the catalyst to build infrastructure. While the UK , US and Australia spent large budgets to bid for the Cup, it was awarded to Qatar. Not all cities have the resources to bid for the World Cup or the Olympics, but the benefits delivered by major sporting events can be great, even if that event is on a smaller scale.
While the UK has been focussed on the Olympics and the World Cup, events like the Volvo Ocean Race have been wooed by countries and cities who aggressively want to use the platform of such a yacht race to grow cities like Alicante over the long term. Spain is one of those countries that believes in the power of sailing to build upon cultural traditions and create economic benefits. Valencia hosted a very successful America’s Cup in 2007, the Barcelona World Race is designed specifically to promote the city.
The Volvo Ocean Race begun in Alicante in 2008-2009 and the organisation of the race has also been moved from Southampton in the UK to Alicante as part of a long term partnership with between the event and the city.
But why is Alicante so convinced in the benefits of such a commercial sporting partnership. Vice President of the Generalitat Valenciana, Gerardo Camps has spoken to race organisers to discuss the motivations behind attracting and retaining such an event.
The Volvo Ocean Race will be based in Alicante for the next three editions. How do you think this city and the region of Valencia will benefit from the race, both in the short term and in the long term?
In the last edition, it was already proven that the departure of an international regatta with such wide scope as the Volvo Ocean Race from Alicante, benefited the citizens of Alicante and the whole Region; it manifested that the Region of Valencia is a region that is capable of organising global events successfully; and it promoted the city from September 2008 all throughout June 2009, the date when the fleet finally arrived in Saint Petersburg. The economic impact of the event stood at over 80 million Euros.
The fact that Alicante has been chosen as the Headquarters of the race organisation and that it will host the departure of the 2011, 2014 and 2017 editions will naturally increase the positive effects for the citizens.
How do you think the Volvo Ocean Race will help the economies of Alicante and the Generalitat Valenciana?
As with other events that the Council of the Generalitat Valenciana (Consell) supports and stimulates, the Volvo Ocean Race has become an economic motor that embraces several sectors: tourism, catering trade, transport, infrastructures and industry.
The great projects and events run by the Council of the Generalitat Valenciana (Consell), have received more than 64.3 million visits since they were set up, generating an economic impact of approximately 9,100 million Euros and have made possible the creation and presentation of 268,000 cumulative employments in the Region of Valencia.
And with regard to the Volvo Ocean Race, the development of the event does not require any expenditure for the Treasury, thanks to the participating sponsors that have been attracted by the tax exemption. The economic and social profitability of this celebration is unquestionable.
You have to remember that during the start of the 2008-09 Volvo Ocean Race, 1,500 direct and indirect jobs were created, the hotel nights in the city increased 15%, part of the port’s facade was remodelled, and docks 10, 12, 14 and the Old Maritime Station were accommodated. All of this led, as I said before, to an economic impact of 80 million Euros.
Apart from hosting the start of the Volvo Ocean Race, Alicante is also the headquarters of the organisation and that means, as the President of the Generalitat said last July during the inauguration of the permanent offices, that an international company has come to the Region of Valencia to put down roots and generate wealth and opportunities.
How will the GVA use the Volvo Ocean Race to promote the region?
The Generalitat Valenciana is aware that tourism is one of the big economic activities in our region, and in this way, the Volvo Ocean Race is a milestone that assures an excellent image campaign. The celebration of the race registered almost 2,000 million cumulative viewers and practically one million people visited Alicante during the 23 days of the Race Village.
Also, the Region of Valencia was present in different stopovers on the route like China, USA and Sweden, thanks to the program Start Region, in which it had its own slot. This meant that the diffused image of the Region of Valencia was not only linked to tourism, but it was also viewed as an ideal place to establish companies and businesses.
What did you think of the Alicante In-Port Race as a way for the local public to view the racing up close and personal?
The In-port Race is a magnificent idea so that the public can see the Volvo Open 70s spectacle from land. Once the race has started, for obvious reasons, we can only get images through the television; and that’s why the In-port race is a great opportunity to bring the event closer to the audience and promote the city of Alicante. Spending the day on the beach, while watching the toughest sailing boats on the planet compete on the horizon, is without a doubt a privilege for anybody from Alicante or visiting the city.
What did you think of the new Volvo Ocean Race headquarters in the Port of Alicante, when you officially opened it earlier this summer?
The Old Maritime Station has been transformed into a modern headquarters from where the race can be tracked in any part of the ocean and where the journalists, sailors, fans, guests and of course the staff, can be accommodated. Having this infrastructure, hosting three starts of the Volvo Ocean Race and being chosen as the headquarters of the organisation, contribute to making Alicante the world’s capital of sailing.
The Volvo Ocean Race, the teams and host cities involved have raised jointly over 210 million Euros in this economic climate. How do you think this will help the profile of the race and the city of Alicante?
We’re going through a nationwide and international economic crisis, and in these times, obtaining financing and private sponsors is complicated. But the Council of the Generalitat Valenciana (Consell) achieved it in the last edition, and is already looking to find sponsors that will again guarantee there will be no cost. The fact that the whole project has collected such an amount of money is a sign that the Volvo Ocean Race is the perfect platform for social, economic, touristic and sport promotion.
There will be an interactive museum next to the race headquarters in Alicante. How do you think this will help the local economy and excite the local public?
Alicante will have one of the few museums in the world that are dedicated exclusively to transoceanic sailing, with the hallmark of a legendary competition. Apart from all the economic and social benefits, we would like the Volvo Ocean Race to have an educational and cultural aspect. In this sense, the Interactive Museum, conceived and designed for fans, school groups, families and general public, contributes in the making of the Volvo Ocean Race as a global project.
Day 2 of the World Yacht Racing Forum will feature a session on “How are major cities and venues benefitting from hosting sailing events?”.
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