Qingdao, China's Sailing City is Looking for Extreme Growth
The city of Qingdao is emerging as one of the world’s great sailing venues. This is not through a lucky accident of being on the right place on the map, but through long term planning and a willingness to invest in both infrastructure, industry and sporting events that promote progress. The Extreme Sailing Series is the latest word-class sailing event to be hosted by the ‘sailing city’.
The Extreme Sailing Series, which is a modern, fan-centric, innovation in competitive sailing, visited China for the first time in 2011, and the results have been spectacular in more ways than one. The event delivered some of the most extreme sailing, and compelling media output of the series’ history.
In the last 15 years, the list of cities able to stage international sporting events has grown substantially as governments recognize the importance of using sport to showcase infrastructure, investment opportunities and promote tourism.
In the sport of yacht racing, the makeup of the list of cities that are able to deliver world class events has changed significantly. This is due to a shift in the relative economic power of different regions as well as commercial promoters looking for more than just favorable wind conditions.
Cities like Cowes (UK), Newport (USA), Auckland (NZ), Capetown (South Africa), Marseilles (France) and Rio (Brazil) have staged well known sailing events largely because of being in the right place or through tradition, but in 2011, the criteria for hosting a major sailing event like the Extreme Sailing Series includes a demonstrable willingness by local agencies to invest in
Like many countries where trade is a major part of the culture, China has a long maritime heritage, however the 2008 Olympic Games provided Qingdao with an opportunity to promote the sporting side of sailing to the world. As well as the Olympics, the city has managed to attract events like the Volvo Ocean Race and is the base for China’s America’s Cup entry.
The demonstrated ability of Qingdao to successfully deliver big sailing events, combined with a larger investment plan for the city, was one of the reasons that attracted OC Thirdpole, the organizers of the Extreme Sailing Series.
While the America’s Cup hopes to deliver $1.4 billion dollars of gains to the city of San Francisco in 2013, the coastal province of Shandong has an investment plan of $38.6 billion to develop an ocean economic zone.Continued on the next page