The events industry gave the Sunshine Coast community a major economic boost recently thanks to the International Rally of Queensland (IROQ).
The Sunshine Coast Regional Council’s major events manager Peter Egan said the events business is a niche market for the greater tourism industry.
“The International Rally last year contributed approximately $5,000,000 to the Sunshine Coast community …and there are more teams this year … approximately 100 teams and they bring in quite a few personnel,” he said.
State pride was further expanded with the major event won by Queenslander Chris Atkinson.
The rally included competitors from Australia, New Zealand, UK, Belgium, Sweden, Malaysia, India, Japan and France.
Events such as this maintain the region’s focus on the tourism industry and allow the Sunshine Coast to showcase its finest attractions to international and interstate visitors.
Sunshine Coast Destination Ltd CEO Steve Cooper said these events had proven track records that “drove up visitation” and delivered strong returns on investment.
“It is ideal to have these events throughout the year particularly to offset the softer periods between traditional school holiday periods,” he said.
“Events visitors to the region provide a boost for the accommodation sector and this in turn has a terrific flow on effect for restaurants, cafes, transport, attractions and the retail sector.”
Such events like this are targeted to expand and the Queensland tourism industry hopes to grab a bigger slice of the market pie.
Premier Campbell Newman identified the tourist industry as one of the four pillars of the state’s economy and plans to double visitor expenditure by 2020 and inject $15 billion into the Queensland economy.
Mr Newman created an initiative known as Destination Q that held its inaugural forum in Cairns.
The Premier said the forum would identify key markets to pursue, new investment in the industry, get transport links right and ensure enough skills and labour are available to meet industry needs.
Tourism Minister Jann Stuckey said the forum was the state’s first major tourism conference in almost 30 years.
“The overwhelming response to the forum indicates that there’s a renewed optimism and confidence among businesses and organisations in the Newman Government’s commitment to grow the industry,” she said.
Mr Cooper attended the forum representing the Sunshine Coast as the Regional Tourism Organisation.
“We will be engaging and meeting with our industry in a lead up to Destination Q to understand the key issues,” he said.
“Other areas to be recognised include the state of the Bruce Highway and increased airport access and expansion for the Sunshine Coast.”
As an example of what can be achieved the IROQ Event Director Errol Bailey said that the three-day event for just one major hotel in the region created over 500 additional bed nights.
“Overall it was an outstanding success,” he said.
If this single event is a good indicator and if Mr Newman’s Destination Q initiative delivers on its goals then the Sunshine Coast community may all end up as winners.