The World Rally Championship is expected to bring millions of dollars to the region in September.
The World Rally Championship is expected to bring millions of dollars to the region in September. JOJO NEWBY

Cashing in on rally millions

THE Clarence Valley can expect millions of dollars to be injected into its economy when the Australian stage of the World Rally Championship is staged in the region later this year.

When Rally Australia visited the Northern Rivers two years ago it generated $16.9 million for the Kyogle and surrounding economies.

And Rally Australia community engagement manager Martin Quinn was hopeful a similar amount would be injected into the Clarence Valley, Coffs Harbour, Bellingen and Nambucca economies during the much anticipated event in September.

“The reality of the situation is that the 2009 event attracted 80,000 spectators over the three days and there are 3200 beds in Coffs Harbour so the surrounding areas will see a significant benefit in increased tourism,” he said.

The details of the exact course are not yet known publicly, however, the closest the event will come to Grafton is Glenreagh, and Rally Australia is looking at placing two major spectator points on that section of the course.

“We really want to showcase the surrounding areas like Grafton in our international coverage so this Events NSW-supported event could do great things for the region in both the short and the long term.”

The Grafton Chamber of Commerce and Industry is working closely with Clarence Valley Council, Clarence River Tourism and local businesses to develop a strategy to attract benefits for Grafton.

This includes encouraging businesses to supply organiser’s needs – from catering and scaffolding to porta loos and merry-go-rounds. They will also be looking for co-ordinators, volunteers and people to offer other entertainment to public viewing areas on race days.

In addition, the chamber is working with local businesses and community groups to develop a range of activities, events and attractions to “value add” the visitors’ rally experience.

This may include music and dining, markets and street events, things for the accompanying family to do while the “enthusiast” watches the race, or encouraging them to stay longer and sample other features the Clarence region has to offer.



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