All Eyes on Croatia: Global Promotion of Croatia Rally Worth EUR 40 million

Daniela Rogulj

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There is one week left until the start of the biggest sporting event in Croatia this year – the Croatia Rally, the third stage of the World Rally Championship (WRC). It is a sports spectacle of the highest level that will put Croatia on the automotive map of the world, and in addition to its sporting size, the event also brings a significant economic and tourist impact, reports HRTurizam.

Analyzes show that the value of global media visibility for Croatia alone from the Croatia Rally is over 40 million euro. Apart from the media value, Croatia Rally is also of great importance for the image of Croatia because it positions the country on the map of motorsports fans worldwide.

“Although the coronavirus and restrictions prevented us from realizing all the ideas we had, Croatia Rally will bring us global visibility among hundreds of millions of WRC fans around the world this year as well. It is important that we show the FIA ​​and the WRC Promoter that we are a reliable partner and justify the tremendous trust they have given us. I am sure that, thanks to the hard-working team that works day and night and our loyal partners, we will succeed in this plan and show that Croatia deserves to host this great event,” said Daniel Šaškin, President of the Croatia Rally Organizing Committee.

Under strict epidemiological standards, 1,200 participants of the competition – drivers and support staff – will arrive in Zagreb, and the event will be watched online or live by about 1,500 journalists and camera crews.

“Sport is once again functioning as an ambassador for branding Croatian tourism because it is an excellent indirect way to attract the attention of the world public and create interest in Croatia. Global publicity with a strong media reach that we get by participating in the WRC has a stronger effect on potential consumers in tourism compared to paid tourism advertising, and thus is a very effective part of integrated marketing communication in Croatia as a tourist destination,” said Sanja Čižmar, consultant at hospitality and company director 505 Consulting.

Portugal often stands out as an example of a country that has made very good use of the World Rally Championship potential. 

Studies show that the direct spending of fans, organizations, and teams during Rally Portugal 2019 exceeded 73 million euro. And it is with Portugal, which has made great use of the potential of organizing the WRC stage, that Croatia very often compares itself in terms of tourism.

“We must not neglect the economic effects that Croatia can achieve. Although the current year is marked by a pandemic and most of the economic impact of this global spectacle will be absent, an important aspect is that the race takes place in April, thus drawing public attention and potentially creating effects outside the main summer season. In addition, economic research conducted by Croatian scientific institutions several years ago showed that the estimated generated consumption in a stable market situation according to the conservative scenario is over 22 million euro. Although this level of effects will not be fully achieved this year due to pandemic restrictions, Croatia has the opportunity to host the World Cup in the coming years, when significant economic effects are expected,” adds Čižmar.

Relevant research by economic analysts shows that the direct economic effects of the organization of the World Rally Championship are realized primarily in the activities of transport, catering, and accommodation, but also through accompanying events.

In addition to generating the consumption of visitors, journalists, and participants, the attractiveness of the landscape, road infrastructure, and local eno-gastronomic specialties will be promoted in parallel. International research also indicates that a very large proportion of WRC visitors visiting their destination for the first time intend to return for a tourist visit.

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