One of the world's most prestigious car races in the world the World Rally Championship (WRC) is very likely to be held in Croatia in 2019.
The WRC promoter and the International Automotive Federation (FIA) have given the green light to Croatia thus by the end of this year the organizers will learn the exact date of the Croatia Rally.
The World Rally Championship attracts more than 700 million spectators annually as well as 1,350 accredited reporters producing more than 12,000 hours of the WRC TV program, which is broadcast in 155 countries around the globe.
The WRC's calendar has 13 races scheduled for this season, and 14 races for the next. The plan is to increase the number of rallies to 16 by 2020.
As far as Croatia is concerned, it was given the green light by the WRC for 2018, however, Turkey was faster in obtaining all the necessary permits and state guarantees thus signed a contract with the WRC promoter for the end of September 2018.
After that, Croatia was offered the term in July 2018, but it was not acceptable due to the high tourist season and traffic jams. The Croatian organizers expressed their wish to organize the WRC in April, May, at the beginning of June or by the end of September or even in October.
With the approval of the Pula mayor, they have envisaged the start of the rally in the ancient Pula Arena, and the finish in Porec. The race would last for four days and cover almost 1,000 kilometres throughout the entire Istria and parts of Kvarner, not excluding the islands of Cres and Losinj.
The first ever WRC in Croatia would certainly start in Istria and Kvarner, whilst the organizers wish to ''move'' the WRC all around the country every few years. The Tourist Board of the Sibenik-Knin County has already expressed its interest in the WRC, whilst organizers wish to bring the WRC also to the Slavonian cities of Vukovar, Vinkovci and Osijek.
According to data from other WRC races in the world, it has been proven that this project is of exceptional importance and benefit to the Republic of Croatia. Some estimates say that the generated consumption would amount to 22 million Euros. The direct profit for the state, only through the VAT, would amount to at least 4 million Euros, whilst the indirect profit of the whole project through media effects is estimated at soaring 41 million Euros! The WRC official data for Portugal is almost beyond comprehension. Last year more than 900,000 spectators watched the WRC race live, out of which foreigners accounted for 50 percent. The direct impact on the Portuguese economy was 67,6 million Euros, whilst the indirect effects amounted to 61,7 million Euros. In terms of tourism, Portugal realizes more than 1,5 million overnight stays annually only from the WRC.
Many Croatia’s state institutions such as the Croatian President, the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Tourism and the Croatian Olympic Committee have recognized the importance of this global sports event and expressed their support both to the WRC and to the Croatia Rally organizers.