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World Rally Championship and its impact on the Coffs Coast


Steve Spinks
20 December 2011
The economic impact of the World Rally Championship on businesses on the Coffs Coast varied widely, according to Southern Cross University Postdoctoral Research Fellow Arianne Reis.

Dr Reis, attached to the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management, was commissioned to do the study by the four councils in which the rally was conducted including Coffs Harbour, Clarence Valley, Bellingen and Nambucca shires.

“Some businesses reported less trading but some reported more,” she said.

“Impacts varied largely between shires, with some reporting significant social benefits, despite more neutral economic impacts.

“Most of the economic benefit was concentrated on the accommodation sector, but that was mostly in Coffs Harbour, which was the base for the Rally.

“There was a degree of disappointment directed towards the organisers of the Rally as many of the businesses did not think the amount of people expected to come eventuated.

“Despite this, the overwhelming majority of businesses, whether they made money or not, want the Rally to return.

“You can put this down to the feeling of pride the region can get by holding such a high profile event.”

The basis of Dr Reis’ findings was on 226 surveys completed by businesses based in the region. According to Dr Reis’ report, approximately an extra $460,000 was recorded as additional revenue by the businesses surveyed and 34 per cent of businesses indicated that they had additional customers compared to the same time the previous year. Still a considerable proportion of businesses reported losses due to the event, but aggregated data indicates that a net gain was reported by surveyed businesses.

“Although this total is a positive result, it is important to note that significant losses were also reported, which indicates that benefits were not evenly spread within the community,” Dr Reis said.

“In general, the event was considered positive by the business community, particularly if the event returns and some mistakes are avoided. Several respondents mentioned the long-term benefits that may be derived from the positive exposure of the region to other markets, possibly attracting new visitors and trade to the region.”

Dr Reis also found that businesses said they would now know how better to prepare for the event to maximise income after the 2011 race. The councils and businesses expect the Rally to return in 2013, although this is still not confirmed.

The WRC round in Coffs Harbour this year was the first time the event had been held on the Mid North Coast.

A full copy of the report is available on request by emailing [email protected]

Photo: Dr Arianne Reis