Yachting: Auckland stopover a success

By Kris Shannon

The Auckland stopover of the Volvo Ocean Race returned a surplus of $201,000. Photo / Emirates with Team New Zealand.
The Auckland stopover of the Volvo Ocean Race returned a surplus of $201,000. Photo / Emirates with Team New Zealand.

The Auckland stopover of the Volvo Ocean Race returned a surplus of $201,000 it was announced today, boosting the city's bid to attract another leg during the race's next edition.

The March stopover was the first time in 10 years Auckland was visited by a global sailing race but the city shouldn't have to wait a decade until the next visit, with the local organising committee today confirming Auckland is being considered to host a leg of the 2014/15 event.

Auckland is one of 33 cities to proceed to the next phase of the bid process, with the final decision on which 10 ports will be awarded hosting rights set to be made on December 21.

And New Zealand's biggest city should stand a good chance after Volvo Ocean Race chief executive Knut Frostad dubbed Auckland the "spiritual home" of the race - a sentiment that was today buttressed by the figures.

The surplus on budget was one of a number of positive outcomes revealed by the local organising committee.

An economic impact report found the stopover provided an injection of $5.96 million for the Auckland economy. That figure meant a 194 per cent regional return on investment, after the Auckland council and the government's major events development fund both contributed $1.5 million in funding to stage the stopover.

The boost to the economy came from 275,000 visitors to the waterfront race village, with that influx of people contributing to almost 15,000 international and domestic visitor nights during the stopover.

Auckland businesses were another area to benefit, as an estimated $4 million was spent with local businesses. More than 80 businesses were contracted directly to the event, and a further 55 were subcontracted, with an estimated 450-550 temporary positions created.

Organisers were satisfied with the numbers, especially considering the unforseen setbacks the stopover suffered. Only six boats eventually entered the race, after an initial number of 10 was budgeted for, and the boats' arrival into Auckland was delayed due to inclement weather.

"This result is very commendable given the challenging economic environment and late arrival of the boats," Auckland tourism, events and economic development general manager Rachael Dacy said.

"Overall, the Auckland leg was a significant win for Auckland."

Surveys of 622 spectators backed up that, with 98 per cent of visitors to the waterfront race village satisfied with the experience. In addition to that, 85 per cent of people said the event increased their pride in Auckland and made it a better place to live.

- APNZ

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