Dakar Rally to boost business in Chile

The ‘toughest race in the world’ is set to return to the Andean nation, with host cities ready to reap the economic benefits of hosting the famous event.

With the Dakar Rally returning to South America, host cities are preparing to receive the race and the economic benefits that come alongside the massive event. With the huge caravan of cars, motorcycles, trucks and quad bikes as well as teams of mechanics and other assistance, the Dakar Rally involves thousands of people moving every day.

Each new day the Rally sets up camp, bringing the teams and their fans to a different destination in Chile, local economies will bloom along the way.

At the launch of the 2015 rally in Paris, Nicolás Mena of Chile’s national tourism service (Sernatur) noted the positive effects for the tourism industry from the race.

“The international recognition of the Dakar is fundamental for tourism in Chile. It has made sure that Chile’s tourism businesses are prepared to receive the competitors and the followers of the rally. This creates a good scenario in all the regions that the caravan passes through,” he stated at the launch event.

A key benefit for the tourism industry is the Dakar’s worldwide television exposure. The competition, described as the toughest rally race in the world, is broadcast in 190 countries.

After the 2014 race, Sernatur completed the first analysis of the event, looking at the economic, social and environmental impact of the race.

The results showed the northern region of Antofagasta was the biggest winner, generating more than US$6 million, particularly in the cities of Antofagasta and Calama. Iquique, with two separate rest days, will take the major spotlight in the caravan’s route in 2015.

The Dakar Rally first took place in South America in 2009 after political troubles caused the cancellation of the 2008 Paris-Dakar Rally. Both the 2013 and 2014 events finished in Chile, with Ignacio Casale winning the quads race last year.

The race, the seventh in South America, will begin on Jan. 4 in Buenos Aires, completing a loop that crosses the Andes and Atacama Desert before returning to the Argentinian capital on January 17.