Rally drives events

THE local economy is gearing up for a multi-million dollar windfall in coming months as the State gets set to reap the rewards of its increased international events profile.

Telstra Rally Australia cranks up the speed this week at its new Gloucester Park location, which will increase the event’s spectator capacity to 10,000 people per night. The former Langley Park location held only 1500 per night.

The rally is expected to deliver significant economic benefits. Last year’s event attracted 2,800 interstate and overseas visitors, injected $11.2 million direct spend into the local economy, consumed $20 million of gross State products and created 370 full and part-time jobs.

With 30.8 million people in 186 countries watching the three-day event on television, the international media coverage is estimated to be worth $500,000 to the State’s tourism industry.

Telstra Rally Australia publicity officer Dianne Bortoletto said ticket sales had been strong and that the grandstand, which held about 500 people including corporate facilities, was expected to sell out over the three nights.

New names on this year’s sponsorship list are Palandri Wines, Subaru and KwikKopy.

In other recent good news for rally organisers, Perth has been touted as the final rally destination on next year’s FIA World Rally Championship calendar, replacing the event in Wales.

Holding the year’s last event would be a real coup for Perth and for local tourism, providing an opportunity for the 2,800 members of rally teams and management to take their summer break in WA.

Telstra Rally Australia board chairman Garry Hunt said while Perth had been pencilled in to hold the final rally in the 2004 draft calendar, the placement was yet to be finalised.

“If that can occur a significant proportion of the teams would stay here longer and enjoy Perth for their summer break,” he said.

Starting next month, Rugby World Cup 2003 is the biggest global event of the year and has been tipped to attract 5,000 interstate and overseas visitors to WA. The tournament is expected to generate $9.4 million in direct spending.

In addition to winning the hosting rights for the 2007-2009 Australian Surf Lifesaving Championships, Perth recently won the national rights to host the World Netball championships and is currently bidding against South Africa and Fiji to host the 2007 World Netball Championships. The event is estimated to attract 2,600 people and generate $4.8 million for Perth.

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