Air Races Pump-Up Adrenaline and Economy - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Air Races Pump-Up Adrenaline and Economy

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The Reno Air Racing Association, or RARA, conducted a study in 2016 that found that 67% of non-locals visiting Reno the week of the air races were here for the event. And all of these visitors have a huge impact on the local economy.

For example, the tables and booths were full at Fiesta Mexicana during Wednesday’s lunch hour, and the mad rush is pretty typical for this Stead restaurant during the air races.

"Before or after the air races start, we have to make sure we're nice and ready to go,” said Fiesta Mexicana Manager, Hector Mendoza.

Mendoza says from Wednesday until Sunday, his family run business will expect a 50% jump in customers who are mostly from out of town.

“It could be the pilots or just all the people enjoying the air races,” said Mendoza.

Mendoza's rise in clients correlates well with RARA’s study. The research finds that during race week, non-locals spent $13.4 million on food and beverage in Washoe County, and that's only a portion of where their money is going.

“Hotels, casinos, transportation, actually the biggest chunk is transportation, flights, rental cars everything,” said RARA Chief Operating Officer Tony Logoteta

Altogether, it's estimated that the total economic impact of non-locals visiting for the air races reached more than $91 million in 2016.

“You can't do it anywhere else, so this region is incredibly blessed to have this race here,” said Logoteta.

Part of the spending comes thanks to an 11% rise in attendance since 2014 and also because of first time visitors who are staying in Washoe County for nearly four days on average.

"I really didn't think about the total cost of the trip, I just wanted to be here and enjoy and as it turns out there’s the hotel and restaurants and grocery stores,” said air race attendee Rebeka Falkner.

And it's not just money that this event is helping to generate in Washoe County. The 2016 study found that a ripple effect from all of this spending helped to create more than 1,000 local jobs.

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