|OFF-ROAD SPORT BOOSTS LOCAL ECONOMIES: CASE STUDY SKEGNESS ANNUAL BEACH RACE
October 30 2015.
The Skegness Annual Beach Race, which takes place on the 7th and 8th of November, is helping to extend the tourist season, according to a report by East Lindsey District Council.
Last year’s race attracted a record number of entrants (313) and over 20,000 spectators – the largest number to date. The event is popular with both out of town visitors and local residents, injecting nearly three quarters of a million pounds into the local economy.
The race is organised by the Amateur Motorcycle Association (AMCA), a not for profit membership organisation which exists to promote grass roots participation in off-road motorcycle sport, particularly motocross.
The report includes testimonials from the Town Manager, local Chamber of Commerce, retailers and hoteliers, who all support the race.
Councillor Adam Grist, now Portfolio Holder for Market Towns and Rural Economy says: “The event is a very important one in East Lindsey’s sporting and cultural calendar and helps to extend the visitor season beyond the summer months. Since the race first came to Skegness in 2010, AMCA has helped to provide a huge boost to the town at a traditionally quieter time of year – last year with upwards of 20,000 people attending the two day event.
“This provides an increased footfall in the town which supports local businesses, amenities and attractions with people staying, eating and shopping locally.
“We look forward to working with AMCA in the future to ensure this popular event continues to take place in Skegness.”
Town Manager Lisa Collins explained it was particularly helpful to seaside traders: “The Race is helping Skegness extend its traditional visitor season. It allows traders to remain open for an extra weekend, in particular the traditional seaside traders on the seafront. Not only is this a popular and important event for visitors to Skegness, but it is well supported by local families, who enjoy seeing the beach used for events such as this.
“It is key to the town’s future that we retain such events to actively promote Skegness as an all year round visitor destination.”
Visitors to the race also increased footfall in Hildren’s Shopping Centre, according to centre manager Steve Andrews: “The event definitely brought people into the town, not just the seafront. Indications from my tenants are that we were around 6% up on sales over the weekend across the centre.”
Nigel Tett, who represents local hotels and bed and breakfast providers through the Skegness East Coast and Wolds Hospitality Association, says the influx of visitors extends well beyond the town: “The AMCA beach race is the biggest event that takes place in late autumn in this part of the world. The input to this part of East Lincolnshire is enjoyed by all companies across the business spectrum ranging from Skegness right through to the other side of Louth and all along the Coast.”
This is the sixth year the race has been staged and the event is now making a small profit for the AMCA.
“To begin with it was a loss making event” explained AMCA General Manager Suzanne Potts, “we can’t generally afford to operate at a loss over the long term and we could have pulled the plug on the event, but we had such a great working relationship with the local council and events team that we really wanted to make it work.
“We knew it would take a few years to establish the event properly and thanks to the ‘can do’ attitude of staff at East Lindsey District Council, we persevered and shaped the event to maximise its impact.”
The first event was held in December 2010. This was bought forward to November for 2011, in order to incorporate an extension of the town’s illuminations.
This boosted rider and spectator numbers but still fell short of financial breakeven for the AMCA.
In 2013 £5k worth of funding was secured from the council to help the AMCA continue to stage the event.
2014 saw a small profit being generated, which is hoped will be sustained for 2015.
This year’s race will take place 7th and 8th November, with races for solos, quads and sidecars.
Beyond economic benefit
The report also acknowledges additional benefits to staging motorsport events. Admission is free and many locals volunteer as marshals, which generates a ‘feel good factor’ within the town.
This echoes government research which informed last year’s decision to pass legislation making it easier for local authorities to stage their own motorsport events.
The Government press release which announced the introduction of new legislation included this statement from Roads Minister Robert Goodwill:
“Motor sport events are great fun, extremely popular and make a valuable contribution to the economy. Allowing local authorities to organise carefully managed motor sports events is great news for the industry and will potentially benefit local communities around Great Britain.”
Tourism and motorcycling across the UK
A study of the economic impact of the motorcycle industry on the UK economy has found motorcycle-related tourism spending in the UK totals £562 million annually and supports 13,200 tourism jobs. In addition, motorcycling tourists from overseas spend £28 million on trips to the UK, supporting approximately 650 tourism jobs.