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Last year’s Rallye Sunseeker car rally injected at least £718,000 into the local Dorset economy according to an economic impact pilot study undertaken by the Motor Sport Research Group of Bournemouth University.

A sample of 600 competitors, officials and spectators polled through questionnaires, many of which were completed online, revealed what each had individually spent on food and drink in Dorset and also with accommodation providers, such as hotels and bed and breakfast businesses. The research also revealed travel costs of petrol and fares as well as expenditure such as car parking. It turned out that the competitors and their teams were by far the biggest spenders.

Dr Bruce Grant-Braham, Director of the Motor Sport Research Group said, “Rallye Sunseeker is a major boost to Dorset’s economy at a traditionally quiet time of the year”.

BU Lecturer and Motors Sport Research Group member, Paul Boyce, said, “We have actually taken a conservative approach to the figures as estimating the total number of spectators in Dorset’s forests is not an exact science. Our research intention is to develop a reliable model for gauging the contribution that motor sport events such as Rallye Sunseeker bring to destinations. We are grateful to the Rallye Sunseeker organisers who have helped us considerably in our quest to develop such a research model.”

The pilot study established that the majority of the event’s spectators came from within the local BH postcode area with a sizeable number travelling for about two hours from locations such as Reading, Oxford, Southampton, Portsmouth, Exeter and London. A small number of dedicated rally fans came from as far afield as Newcastle and Glasgow to the South Coast specifically for Rallye Sunseeker 2009.

The Rallye Sunseeker organisers already generously provide placement opportunities for BU students within the event’s operational team of 1200 officials” said Bruce Grant-Braham. “That Rallye Sunseeker 2010 and Bournemouth University continue to work together provides a Win - Win situation for everyone involved”.
Rick Smith, Rallye Sunseeker Event Director commented “ We have always been certain in our own minds of the economic value of the event to the region, to have that quantified by this robust research by Bournemouth University is excellent news. However for us to be able to continuously deliver these benefits we need continued financial support from local government and business”