Bds $2 million-plus injection from Barbados Rally Carnival
Virgin Atlantic's Boeing 747-400 from London Gatwick lands at Grantley
Adams International Airport tomorrow afternoon (Wednesday), Barbados
Rally Carnival 2005 will be well and truly under way . . . and, with
it, another major injection of foreign exchange from the motor sport
community to help drive the economy of Barbados.
Including those arriving this year for the fifth Rally Carnival,
more than 150 overseas competitors have been attracted to the island
since 2001 by the chance to combine their favourite sport with a
relaxing holiday. With each competing crew arriving from Europe - also
from countries around the region, particularly Jamaica - have come
family and team personnel, plus a posse of supporters, bringing the
total visitor numbers over the Carnival's five years to around 4000.
And the media have been following in their wheel-tracks! Each year,
Barbados Rally Carnival has enjoyed significant television coverage
throughout Europe on Sky Sports, while regional broadcast, print and
electronic media all over the UK cover the exploits of local
competitors, all this combining to carry images of Barbados into the
homes of millions of potential holidaymakers.
In 2005, both of Britain's leading weekly motor sport publications
- Autosport and Motorsport News - have staff members travelling to
Barbados, while monthly magazines from Japan and the United States will
also be represented. New to the island this year is Europe's
most-watched TV travel programme VoxTours, while www.crash.net
one of many web sites worldwide that cover Rally Carnival - will
broadcast live on its increasingly-popular web-based radio station.
Barbados Rally Carnival comprises two international motor sport
events on consecutive weekends: the Vaucluse Raceway International
RallySprint (May 21/22) is a mixed-surface competition on a
three-kilometre figure-of-eight course in the parish of St Thomas;
Rally Barbados 2005 (May 28/29) is a two-day closed-road tarmac rally,
which is run at seven special-stage venues island-wide.
Particularly for the benefit of the European visitors, there is a
calendar of social and sight-seeing events to allow them to get to know
Barbados, taking in local attractions varying from the pirate ship
Jolly Roger to Harbour Lights.
The majority of European competitors, their families and supporters
will stay for two weeks, although a number of repeat visitors - these
include the popular Englishman Martin Stockdale, who becomes the only
driver to have attended all five Carnivals - have extended their stay
to three weeks. And many previous competitors have returned to the
island for family holidays during the peak winter season, including
Kenny Hall and Steve Perez.
Most of the regional competitors will stay for shorter periods
although, based on the experience of the past two years, the Caribbean
representation will jump dramatically next week, as hundreds of
supporters will arrive in time for Rally Barbados weekend.
In terms of tourist days spent in the island, Rally Carnival is
directly responsible for foreign exchange earnings in excess of Bds
$1,000,000 . . . but these are no ordinary tourists! On top of the
usual expenditure on hotels, food, drink and attractions, there are
considerable additional costs related to their competing in the two
events. These include requirements such as AvGas or pump fuel for rally
cars and service vehicles, provisions for the team personnel over the
two weekends of competition, plus the shipment of their cars from
Europe or around the region.
In addition to the foreign exchange earnings, there is also a major
investment by the organisers, marketing partners and competitors in
Barbados Rally Carnival and its two constituent events, all injected
directly into the island economy.
The budget for staging Rally Barbados and the previous weekend's
VRW International RallySprint is approaching Bds $200,000, while the
allied promotional and marketing spend by sponsors is calculated to be
a further Bds $50,000. Each of the 60 local crews competing in Rally
Barbados will spend an average of $4,000 on necessities such as
insurance, AvGas or pump fuel, servicing, bodywork and spare parts -
another Bds $240,000.
And the final area of major spending is among the spectators.
Police estimates suggest that approaching 25,000 people turn out to
watch the island-wide special stages during Rally Barbados weekend,
while around one-third of that number are expected for the VRW
International RallySprint. Adding in an average spent on items such as
gasoline or diesel, food and drink and rally souvenirs at the two
events at a conservative Bds $20, then the total spent locally the two
weekends of the Barbados Rally Carnival comfortably exceeds Bds
Rally Carnival founder Greg Cozier says: "Over the five years of
the Carnival, Barbados has struck a chord with a growing number of
overseas competitors, many of whom have returned time and again. Their
affection for the island has grown, in large part, thanks to the
extremely warm welcome they have received here . . . and not only from
motor sport enthusiasts, but also in hotels, restaurants and so on.
"The fact that their presence is also assisting to boost the
economy is a real bonus . . . but possibly the most valuable
contribution of all is the media coverage the event has attracted, and
continues to attract, particularly on television across Europe. And we
can't put a figure on the value of that!"
Rally Barbados 2005 is organised by the Barbados Rally Club in
association with Automotive Art Shell, Banks Breweries, Da Costa
Mannings Autocentre, DMS Distributors.com, McEnearney Quality, Simpson
Motors, Texaco West Indies and Total Sport. The event is supported by
Abacus Builders, The Boatyard, Nassco, SBI Distributors, Stoute's Car
Rental and Williams Equipment. The Vaucluse Raceway International
RallySprint is organised by the Vaucluse Raceway Motorsport Club.