January becomes the month of the metal and engines. It came the time of the show and the deserts of South America to become the hosts the world’s most important raid: the Rally Dakar. The test – created by the French runner Thierry Sabine – has more than 30 years putting to test the most important automotive signatures and has catapulted to fame various European and Latino pilots such as Stephane Peterhansel, Carlos Sainz, Nasser Al-Attiyah, Francisco “Chaleco” Lopez, Marcos and Alejandro Patronelli, among others.
However, the most important raid of the planet is more than simply motorcycles, cars, quads and trucks. It is also, a media and economic phenomenon. According to the World Tourism Organization (Organizacion Mundial del Turismo (OMT)), “the great sporting events have to be conceived and planned as large tourism events”. This for the people who come to a place like spectators or participants, at the same time that are tourists: will stay in hotels, eat in restaurants and enjoy, during their free time, the offer of culture and entertainment.
According to estimates by the organizers of the competition – Amaury Sport Organization (A.S.O.) - the Rally Dakar 2014 generated for Argentina an economic impact of US$ 150 million. Money injected into activities such as food, shelter, fuel sales, parking, among others. Bolivia received economic benefits estimated at US$ 62.3 million and Chile in US$ 40 million, the amount fluctuates between the numbers of days that the country hosts the competition.
Another interesting aspect is the visibility that generates the Rally on the nations that travels: the recovery of 1 200 hours of television broadcasting is estimated for all the countries in US$ 420 million and the images arrive in 190 countries through 70 channels. In addition, surveys carried out by A.S.O., with representative samples of the population in nine countries (France, Spain, Netherlands, Germany, Argentina, Brazil, China, the United States, Japan), confirmed the benefits of visibility that contributed the Dakar: more than 2/3 of the people declared they knew about the event. More than 50% of them commented on wanting to visit these countries someday thanks to the pictures diffused in the media.
It should be noted that in 2014 there were more than 300 journalists from the most important media of the world, that accompany the Rally route interested in providing coverage not only to the vehicles, but also excited with the imposing geography of the territories, the anecdotes, the people and the main tourist attractions of the nations that the Rally visited.
After 30 years, the Rally Dakar has conquered the hearts of insiders and outsiders by the rudeness of their tours, the courage of its pilots and the technology of their machines. The event must be understood not only as a sport, but as a spectacle of great dimensions, whose tours capture the national and international attention, mobilize hundreds of thousands of people and generate millions of economic incomes. It is, really, a fever called Dakar.
To access the adapted article, published in the Supplement DT of Diario El Comercio from Peru, click here.