Rallying the call for Coffs business
THE World Rally Championship has been run and won for 2017 with the Coffs Coast again hosting the final round of the year, and what another resounding success for the organisers, competitors and locals alike. Why is this event so important to the business and general community?
Here are some quick facts provided by Rally Australia:
- Spectators (which do not include spectators on private properties) were 63,415 over the event period.
- Based on 2016 figures (which is likely to increase in 2017) the economic benefit to the Coffs Coast region was $14.8m
- Accommodation bed nights will exceed 33,000, and this is for the rally week only, not including any pre or post event nights by teams or officials.
Here is where it gets real exciting for the area though:
- Over 1000 hours of broadcast footage went out across channels numerous national broadcasters including Fox Sports featuring the Coffs Coast
- This was broadcast to over 50 countries and an more than 37 million viewers with eyes on the Coffs Coast (NO other event gives Coffs Harbour and the Coffs Coast this level of international exposure) If you didn't get a chance to see a replay on television it showcased the area in incredulous beauty and a place that any international tourist would want to put on their itinerary.
- There was a local audience of 50,000
The hospitality and accommodation businesses have be overwhelmingly thrilled by the patronage this year.
One popular local restauranteur gave feedback that they had to do two settings each night just to serve the bookings enquiries, and it is unequivocally the best income week they have experienced.
If you happened to head past the recently completed Jetty Foreshores beautification Stages 2-4 you would have seen locals and visitors alike making great use of this new space during Rally week.
As the Chamber has mentioned in a previous column the focus soon shifts to ensuring we maximise the beauty of this location through the Stages 5-9. It will be this generation's last chance to get it right for future generations.
If you still find yourself wondering why we need this event for the community and the local businesses, who employ local employees, consider this.
Imagine if just one tenth of the visitors to the area for the Rally were to come back on a family holiday or decided that the Coffs Coast was an ideal location to re-visit or live!
We certainly have numerous spectacular State, National, and other World events calling the Coffs Coast home, and in 2018 we will add the National AFL Masters Championships to the agenda.
The AFL national masters carnival will bring in excess of 1000 players, approximately 2,500 visitors and an estimated 3.8 million to the local economy for the week with the average visitor stay of 9 to 11 days for the carnival
All this whilst work commences on doubling the capacity of the C.ex International Stadium courtesy of Council and Federal investment.
In the coming months the FIA will make announcements regarding 2019 & 2020 Word Rally location.
The NSW Government through Destinations NSW has already committed the funding required to support the running of those events on the Coffs Coast. Whilst many see the direct benefit during Rally week, most will probably not even realise the long term benefit that this event brings.
One thing is for sure; NOT having the event will be a lot more costly to the region than having it. Food for thought!