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€ 35m ocean race boost less than predicted

THE cash boost to Ireland from the 2012 Volvo Ocean Race was less than half that which was anticipated.

A report on the economic impact of the race has found that Galway was well below several other global stopovers.

The race report for the 2011-2012 event -- commissioned by the Global Volvo Ocean Race organisers and seen by the Irish Independent -- found that the benefit for Galway was €35.13m -- less than half of the €80m predicted.

A total of €8m was spent by Failte Ireland in 2009, when the race enjoyed a two-week stopover in Galway and generated an estimated €55m for the local economy.

There has been criticism that the race took too large a percentage of the overall Failte Ireland budget. The seven-day event this year received €4m, paid directly to Volvo to secure the stopover. It was the single largest grant from Failte Ireland for an event.

The contribution to the Irish economy by the race was significantly below the amount recorded for Alicante, Sanya in China and Abu Dhabi, which also had stopovers. A total of 10 ports were visited during the nine-month race, which began in Alicante in October 2011.

Alicante had one of the longest stopovers with 28 days on top of the pre-race period. It benefited to the tune of €89m.

Among the other stopovers were Sanya, with a €92m boost over 16 days and Abu Dhabi, which got €39m for 14 days.

A spokesperson for Failte Ireland said that while the this year's figure may seem small, the length of each stopover had to be taken into account. She added that the figures did not take into account the impact of the Global Village which was erected near the Race Village.

"The economic benefit is pretty much the same as for the last Galway stopover and a €35.1m return from a Government investment of €4m is certainly very strong," she added.

A spokesperson for the Irish stopover of the event Let's Do It Global said the figures do not tally with other data collected during the event.

Irish Independent