THE VOLVO OCEAN Race that took place in Galway city this summer was worth €60.5 million to the Irish economy.
Over 500,000 visitors attended events during the festival from 30 June to 8 July 2012, with 16% of those coming from outside of Ireland. In figures revealed by the J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics at NUI Galway, it also provided Galway city with an audience of over one billion.
Galway hosted a stopover for the race in 2009 and hosted the finale of the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race. The contest lasted for nine months, covered 39,270 nautical miles, visited eight stopover ports and sailed through four oceans, making it the toughest sailing event in the world.
Speaking of the findings, Dr Patrick Collins of NUI Galway’s Whitaker Institute said:
For nine days and nights, Galway became the focal point of one of the most highly regarded international sporting events, supported by over 275 free events around the city. The magnitude of the event in terms of the relatively small economy of the Galway area was exceptional.
The hospitality industries, in particular the bar/lounge sector, showed a 50 per cent increase in sales. However, a quarter of local businesses found their business was negatively affected by the race as most of the economic benefit was located in the areas surrounding the event.
There was a 70 per cent employment increase in the hospitality industry, but, these employment gains were temporary with only 7 per cent of new employees lasting beyond a three month period.
Around 800,000 visits were recorded with 97 per cent rating their Galway experience as positive.