Volvo Ocean Race Coming to Miami in May, 14-Day Event to Have Multi-Million Dollar Tourism Impact

Volvo Ocean Race Coming to Miami in May, 14-Day Event to Have Multi-Million Dollar Tourism Impact

Vacation News » North America Vacation News Edition | By Michael Gerrity | March 9, 2012 12:28 PM ET

(Miami, FL) -- Recently the Miami Downtown Development Authority (Miami DDA) announced their commitment to the Volvo Ocean Race coming to downtown Miami in just two months.

Considered one of the most prestigious sail events in the world with a global following, the 14-day Volvo Ocean Race festival scheduled in downtown Miami's Bicentennial Park will be taking place from May 6-20 and will attract more than 200,000 visitors including tourists, locals and sailing enthusiasts alike.

Volvo Ocean Race Miami's board member and President Don Poole tells the World Property Channel, "Several months ago in our application to the Florida Sports Commission we indicated that we believed that our event would generate around 7,000 room nights locally. We now know that Volvo North America has booked 900 people for 4 nights, 3,600 rooms. The six Volvo Race teams have booked on average 40 rooms for 14 days and the Volvo Race Corporate organization has booked 35 rooms for at least 14 days. When you do the math you can see that we will easily reach the 7,000 room night target and that's just the booked rooms we know about now.

"We are continually getting calls from major sponsors who are complaining that they cannot find any charter boats to rent to view the In Port Race because all of the local boats between here and Ft Lauderdale are already booked.

"Volvo statistics from the last race in 2009 revealed that 35% of the people who visited their race villages came from outside the city limits where the race village was located. Those same surveys found that 76% of the people who came to the event internationally indicated that they were likely to return because of their experience there."

Poole concluded, "The Volvo Ocean Race web site receives on average 150,000 hits per day. The biggest majority of these come from Europe & Asia. The race boats will be here for about 14 days. When you couple that with Fox Sports televising live to a large part of the country the In Port Race, how can you not help but believe that the Volvo Ocean Race being in Downtown Miami will be anything but great publicity for our city and result in significant tourist dollars in the future."

"We are fortunate that Miami has the perfect combination that Volvo was looking for: beautiful weather and access to the sea as well being the gateway to the Americas," said Marc Sarnoff, the City of Miami Commissioner whose district includes the downtown Miami area where the Volvo Race Village will be.

"We expect the economic impact  to Miami, from the Volvo Race, to be in the millions," Sarnoff said. "The Race will also put Miami in a positive spotlight with more than 150,000 visitors expected, and mass media from over 200 countries here before, during and after the race."

Alyce Robertson, Executive Director of the Miami Downtown Development Authority said, "Downtown Miami is a natural backdrop for this event. Not only is the district already serving as a major international destination, but it also currently stands as a strong magnet for tourism and recreation.  Events such as the Volvo Ocean Race bring new visitors to our city to experience our restaurants, stores, entertainment offerings and cultural amenities, while at the same time, showcasing our iconic waterfront to the rest of the world."

As an official Port Sponsor, Miami DDA contributed $50k to the Volvo Ocean Race Miami. The festival, newly renamed Downtown Miami Race Village for its partnership with Miami DDA, will consist of daily activities, international entertainment events, water sports exhibitions, Volvo Ocean Race Academy, the In Port Race, Pro-Am Race, cardboard canoe race, the Antique & Classic Auto and Boat Show, a classic steamboat race, the legacy showcase, food, art, drinks, city-wide events and the Volvo Open 70s- to name a few.

With the combined efforts of the Volvo Ocean Race Miami and Miami DDA, local merchants are being notified to gear up for the tourism influx they will see this May.  From restaurants to hotel rooms Downtown Miami will be thriving with pedestrians along Biscayne Boulevard. The official count down has begun to the 24-hour arrival event and 14-day festival in Bicentennial Park to honor and celebrate the six-Volvo Open 70's.

The globally recognized Volvo Ocean Race is an extreme sailing event around the world and is widely known as the 'Everest of Sailing.' The worldwide sporting event kicked off from Alicante, Spain on November 5th, and will conclude in Galway, Ireland, in July 2012. The teams are competing across 39,270 nautical miles through some of the world's most treacherous seas. South Florida is the only North American stopover for the race and will host Miami's first ever two weeklong festival.

The Volvo Ocean Race Downtown Miami Race Village is a large scale production and 14-day event taking place in Bicentennial Park. Spanning over 27 acres overlooking the bay, the village will provide tourists and the local South Florida community a place to "Sea and be Seen" with an international and interactive race village that will showcase cultural arts, music entertainment, food, and more. Over 200,000 attendees are expected from May 6-20, as Miami is the only North American stopover of this global sailing event.

With a rich history of sailing in the South Florida community and home to the U.S. Sailing Center, the Volvo Ocean Race committee was confident that the City of Miami would be the ideal North American stopover. Downtown Miami Village will consist of sailing and extreme water sports activities, educational programs for children of all ages, interactive pavilions, a 3-D Marine Cinema featuring the global race, music entertainment and wrap-around events. 

During the 14-day stopover the 6 professional race teams will gather points during the In-Port Race that counts toward the overall leader board and a Pro-Am race putting sponsors with the professionals.  In addition, the festival will feature wakeboarding, water sports exhibitions, community cardboard canoe race, a classic steamboat race, Optimist Class Nationals, food, drinks, a Gala and more.

Volvo Ocean Race Downtown Miami Race Village will take place May 6-20, 2012 in Bicentennial Park. For information on Volvo Ocean Race Miami or the Downtown Miami Race Village, visit:

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