The Safety Direct Galway International Rally, which will take place from January 16 to 18, is expected to give a €3.6 million shot in the arm to the local economy.
That’s according to a joint study carried out by the University of Ulster and the Institute of Technology Sligo.
The cash boost is particularly significant because the event takes place in January which is outside the traditional tourist season.
Television coverage of the event is broadcast to an average viewership of 150,000 through national TV stations and internationally the programme is broadcast in more than 30 countries. The organisers say this raises the profile of Galway city and county because the event is spread over a large part of the county.
Paul Shelly, president of Galway Chamber Of Commerce says it welcomes the rally to Galway.
“We also welcome the participants and followers and appreciate the sporting and economic boost that the event will bring to Galway in January. As with any other major sporting event Galway offers the best in tourism infrastructure and ‘apres rally’ entertainment. We thank the organisers for choosing Galway and hope that this year’s event is the best ever.”
Alan Fair of Safety Direct says it is delighted to be involved with such a “very exciting event” as the rally.
“An occasion of this scale is wonderful for Galway city and county and we are only too happy to be a part of it, bringing so much revenue to the area and local businesses.”
Clerk of the course Gary Leonard explains it costs Galway Motor Club €250,000 to put on the event.
“The biggest element is spent providing accommodation and sustenance for approximately 300 volunteers that are required to stage the event. Such is the popularity of the sport in the region a national one day rally was added to the calendar in late August some years ago. Galway Motor Club now spends €400,000 annually running these two events.”
The rally will again have its administrative headquarters at the Clayton Hotel, Ballybrit. The ceremonial start will take place at Eyre Square on Friday January 16 with competitors returning to Eyre Square for the finish ramp on Sunday 18.
The Saturday stages (January 17 ) will run in the North Galway area while the stages on Sunday the 18 will move to South Galway. A new feature for the rally in 2009 will be a single centralised service and refuelling area at Deerpark Industrial Estate, Oranmore on both days. The premises, a short drive from Rally HQ, will also be used as the location for mechanical scrutiny and parc ferme. The organisers are confident that a single service park will help to reduce traffic movements over the three days of the event.
Further information will be available on www.galway internationalrally.com