Brand awareness, Experiential / Engagement, Tourism

  • To position Qingdao as China’s ‘Sailing City’, and to inspire China’s youth and grow participation in sailing.
  • To promote the ‘blue’ maritime economy and Qingdao’s tourism offering to national and international visitors.
  • Support China’s ‘belt and road initiative’, which aims to grow international communication, cooperation and develop trade links between the East and West.
  • To continue to build upon Qingdao’s Olympic legacy, having hosted the sailing events at the 2008 Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Clipper Race was the first international sailing event to trial the Olympic Sailing Centre ahead of Qingdao hosting the sailing events for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, allowing the city to test its new Olympic facilities, logistics and procedures. During the 2017-18 Race the Clipper Race was also the first to visit the newly constructed Wanda Yacht Club on Starry Island in Qingdao’s West Coast New Area, testing out the marine infrastructure and event hosting capabilities of the new venue for future sailing events.

Like the Olympic Sailing Centre, Wanda Yacht Club is set to become a key sailing venue which will develop sailing within the sailing city of Qingdao.

The city of Qingdao now regularly hosts major sailing events including:

  • IFDS Qingdao International Regatta
  • ISAF Sailing World Cup
  • Extreme Sailing Series
  • The Volvo Ocean Race
  • The Qingdao International Boat Show
  • Weta Trimaran Sailing in Qingdao

The Qingdao Clipper Race Ambassador programme has been running since the Clipper Race first partnered with Qingdao in the 2005-06 edition of the race. It was founded as a way of promoting China’s Sailing City and event hosting capabilities, build on its Olympic legacy, and inspire the Chinese nation by encouraging future sailing participation. To date the programme has enabled 41 Chinese nationals to take part in the Clipper Race, including China’s first man and woman to circumnavigate the globe. Guo Chuan went on to become China’s first professional sailor, while Song Kun (Vicky Song) was voted by Forbes in 2015 as Asia’s Most Powerful Woman.

Qingdao’s media coverage during the Clipper 2017-18 Race has ensured that Qingdao firmly retains the title of China’s ‘Sailing City’ after it reached a widespread global audience base, through 1,240 news items and over 3,000 social media mentions gaining an advertising value equivalent of £1.3 million.

To date, an estimated 5,000 school children have had the opportunity to climb aboard a Clipper Race yacht and meet the crew during Qingdao stopovers.Sailing is now also included in the school curriculum.

The Qingdao partnership has enabled other Clipper Race partners to build business relationships in China through international trade missions staged by countries like Great Britain and Nova Scotia, resulting in tripartite trade agreements and the signing of a memorandum of understanding to develop trade corridors.

The importance of sailing to Qingdao can be seen in the staggering growth of its Marine Industry in the past twelve months alone. According the Qingdao Municipal Bureau of Statistics, the total output of Qingdao’s marine industry exceeded $45 billion in 2017, a 15.7 percent increase from 2016, and it accounts for 26.4 per cent of the city’s whole GDP.

  • Chinese ambassadors operated cultural exchanges, business events and community focused engagement during Qingdao stopovers.
  • The team of Chinese ambassadors carry Qingdao’s key messages around the world and are exposed to extensive national and international coverage, via print, online and broadcast media. Coverage extends over 18 months, beginning at the initial crew selection process, and continuing right through to the end of the race.
  • Qingdao uses its biennial Clipper Race stopover to promote its purpose built marine facilities to international and national audiences.
  • The stopover successfully engages thousands of the city’s young residents, inspiring them to follow the Clipper Race and take up sailing.
  • Engagement events include school visits, cultural and tourism activities, home visits, activity programmes, and yacht tours.
  • Qingdao also used the race to build strong relationships, influence government and private sector guests and deepen relationships with trading partners and other Clipper Race sponsors during stopover events.
  • Qingdao welcomed the Clipper Race back for the seventh consecutive time during the 2017-18 Race lighting up skyscrapers across the city with images of the Clipper fleet and partner logos.
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Qingdao is blessed with decent natural and geographic features which makes it an excellent destination for maritime leisure. By working with world’s top-class events such as Clipper Race, Qingdao has become the national centre city of sailing sport and industry, which has been conducted in line with the nation’s strategy of ‘One Belt One Road’ and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road policies.

Ji Gaoshang, Secretary General of Qingdao Organising Committee and Director General of Qingdao Municipal Bureau of Sports