The Volvo Ocean Race’s museum has established itself as one of the most popular attractions in the busy tourist city of Alicante, southern Spain, with 50,488 visitors during 2015.
Some 44% of the visitors came from overseas to see the world’s leading offshore sailing event’s museum, 8% more than the previous year.
That compares against the average of 13% foreigners who entered museums in the Valencia region, according to the latest official figures of the national Ministry of Culture. Of the overseas visitors, the highest proportion were British (21%), followed by French (9%), Swedish (8%), Dutch (8%) and German (7%).
“This year the results of the museum have been exceptional,” said outgoing Volvo Ocean Race CEO, Knut Frostad. “We are very satisfied at having consolidated ourselves as a model for leisure, tourism and culture in the city.”
Alicante residents represented 68% of the Spanish visitors, with people from Madrid accounting for 11%. The museum, which offers a free educational programme, welcomed 4,842 schoolchildren in 2015.
“If we discount the effect of the hosting of 2014-15 Alicante Race Village in October 2014, when the museum received more than 12,000 visitors in 10 days, we have grown 6%,” added Frostad.
“To pass the barrier of 50,000 visitors this year has been incredible. It is our maximum capacity in normal conditions.”
Inaugurated in June 2012, the Volvo Ocean Race museum is a modern exhibition dedicated to the 42 years of history of the round-the-world race for crewed boats, whose fleet for the 13th edition will leave Alicante in October/November 2017 (date to be confirmed). The museum adjoins the race HQ in the city’s marina.
“Whether you are interested in offshore sailing or not, you will think that this really is a museum which is worth visiting. There’s a lot of interesting information, well exhibited and very interactive,” commented a Briton, Victor, in a review on the tourist information website, TripAdvisor, that awarded the museum its Certificate of Excellence in 2014 and 2015.
The free-to-enter museum, belonging to the network of museums in the Valencia region, is equipped with advanced multi-media technology and interactive attractions giving visitors a taste of life onboard the one-design boats that contest the nine-month race, the longest in world sport.
The museum also boasts two Volvo Open 70 boats, Brasil 1 and The Black Pearl, which both took part in the 2005-06 edition, and are displayed outside the building ready for onboard tours at the weekends.
*Image credits: Carmen Hidalgo/Javier Escandell/Laura Urrutia/Ainhoa Sanchez