Auckland has been confirmed to host a stopover for the next two editions of the Volvo Ocean Race.
The Government will invest $1.5 million on each of two stopovers to be held in 2015 and 2018.
The announcement was made at a briefing on Auckland's waterfront and race CEO Knut Frostad said it was a no brainer they would return to New Zealand after the successful stopover last year.
Once again, the 2014-15 route will see Auckland play host to the start of the main Southern Ocean leg, sending the teams on their way around Cape Horn and on to the leg finish in Itajaí in Brazil. The dates of the stopover will be revealed next month.
"Sailing into Auckland after a 10-year gap felt like the race was coming home," said Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad.
"Tens of thousands of passionate fans packed the Race Village each day, and the crowds for all the arrivals plus the In-Port Race and Leg Start were among the best we've ever had.
"Auckland people know sailing and know the race. As soon as we arrived it was clear that we'd been away from this stunning city too long and it's hugely satisfying to be able to say that we're coming back straight away this time. Having an agreement in place for the next two editions is just the icing on the cake."
Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce said the government funding would assist with event delivery and leverage a broad range of immediate and longer-term benefits
"These events provide a platform to leverage benefits for New
Zealand, particularly for New Zealands marine sector. The
Volvo Ocean Race stopovers provide a great opportunity to showcase
this sectors expertise internationally, Joyce said.
Economic impact figures show that the 2015 and 2018 stopovers will provide a GDP impact to New Zealand of approximately $7.4 million respectively and attract 1,880 international visitors each year.
The Government invested $1.5 million in the 2012 Volvo Ocean Race Auckland stopover.
The economic impact figures for the 2012 Stopover showed it
generated an additional $6.3 million to New Zealands GDP and
attracted 1,681 international visitors," Joyce added.
Around 275,000 spectators visited the race village in 2012. Exhibitors in an associated New Zealand Marine Showcase noted crucial relationships and sales leads were formed with international clients, including race syndicates, during the stopover.
The Volvo Ocean Race is a round-the-world yacht race held every three years. It spans a nine month period which includes a number of stopovers at international ports to allow for boat maintenance and rest time for the crews.
It is anticipated that Auckland will host 15 day stopovers in early 2015 and 2018.