Volvo race expected to be major economic driver

As the American team for the Volvo Ocean Race prepares to share its plans Thursday night at a presentation at the Jane Pickens Theater, economic activity connected with the race is already beginning to pick up, according to Sail Newport. More

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tourism

Volvo race expected to be major economic driver

COURTESY R.I. DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM
NEWPORT SERVED as the final stop in the 2012 America's Cup World Series events, and will also host the only North American stopover for the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race. Construction is due to begin soon on the new 240-foot pier at Fort Adams State Park.
Posted 2/13/14

NEWPORT – As the American team for the Volvo Ocean Race prepares to share its plans Thursday night at a presentation at the Jane Pickens Theater, economic activity connected with the race is already beginning to pick up, according to Sail Newport.

The race starts in October in Alicante, Spain, and will finish in Gothenburg, Sweden, in June 2015. The only North American stopover for the 2014-15 race will take place in Newport from May 5-17, 2015.

While he doesn’t have statistics to share yet, Sail Newport Executive Director Brad Read said hotel booking inquiries in the region are on the rise and construction workers are renting hotel rooms in Providence as Reagan Construction Corp. plans to begin work driving pilings for the new 240-foot pier at Fort Adams State Park in the next week and a half.

“It’s stretching out the tourism season in a big way,” said Read. “It’s keeping people employed more early than normal in Newport because this race is a true attraction. It’s bigger already than the America’s Cup World Series was.”

The 2012 America Cup World Series event brought a total of $52.7 million to the state.

An economic impact report issued in early 2013 found the America’s Cup event brought $38.2 million to Rhode Island businesses, created job income of $12 million, and generated $2.5 million in general state tax revenue from visitors, organizers, sponsors, racing teams and media members covering the event.

The Volvo Ocean Race “is a longer-duration event so potentially the hospitality sector can benefit more,” Read said.

Thursday night’s “Sail Newport Presents,” supported by Fidelity Investments, will start at 5:30 p.m., regardless of the weather, to debut the American team’s plans to prepare for the grueling ocean race during which they will circumnavigate the globe. Skipper Charlie Enright of Bristol and Mark Towill of Hawaii comprise Team Alvimedica, the only crew under age 30 in the competition.

“This is a big deal,” Read said. “A kid from Bristol gets to sail around the planet and come into his hometown.”

The presentation will feature on-screen footage of the race, as well as information on the team, the boats, the stopovers and how the Newport community can plan a homecoming for the American team.

Team Alvimedica will join Team SCA (with fellow American Sally Barkow on board), Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Dongfeng Race Team and Team Brunel in the race, which will be contested over 38,739 nautical miles.

Tickets to attend the presentation cost $15 for adults and $5 for youth under 18. For tickets or more information, visit www.sailnewport.org.

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