Study confirms huge benefits for local economies from classic car events

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The massive economic impact of the Beaulieu International Autojumble has been revealed by a new report. Masterminded by the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs and the University of Brighton Business School, the investigation shows that businesses in the immediate area in the New Forest benefit to the tune of £3million from the three-day event.

Add in on-site spend and the Bonhams auction and the Autojumble is reckoned to be worth a whopping £11million in economic activity, including nearly £600,000 in VAT for the Treasury. Other benefits include temporary employment for more than 200 people.

Students from the university quizzed stall-holders and visitors during last year's Autojumble to ascertain the results. From the 38,000 visitors over three days, they gathered some 900 usable results.

People were asked a series of questions on how they travelled there, where they stayed and what they spent, both on- and off-site. For the purposes of the study the local area was considered to be anywhere within a 15-mile radius of Beaulieu, but it was clear from the results that places outside of that zone also benefited significantly. For example, hotels and other other accommodation were the principal beneficiaries and more than half of respondents stayed close to the study area, but outside it.

It is just one of several studies being carried out, with far bigger numbers expected when the next results – for Goodwood's events – are revealed later this month.

A previous report extrapolated that the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run added more than £1 million to the seaside town's coffers.

The Federation started the series of investigations because assessing the economic benefits of classic car activity increases its clout when lobbying or negotiating with everything from parish councils up to Parliament.

Federation vice president Geoff Smith said: "Not all problems we have to face start in Westminster or Brussels, plenty of them start locally. If you can show that any inconvenience caused by classic car events is far outweighed by the local benefits then people are going to be a lot more accommodating.

"If we all work together as a team, we can help ensure that our customers – the enthusiasts – will be able to drive their vehicles on the road without restrictions for the foreseeable future."

The Honourable Ralph Montagu added that the report would also influence the future direction of the autojumble in the internet age. He said: "The event is evolving and this information will enable us to make decisions on the way it should evolve."

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