$2m haul from events
Geraldton and the Mid West are planning on becoming a major sports and tourism centre after more than $2 million was pumped into the city in the first few days of June.
A report to be released today reveals more than 6000 visitors came to the Mid West to watch nearly 2000 participants in 12 sports in the opening days of winter.
Economic impact data from the Mid West Sports Federation shows visitors spent $2.2 million — which included $1.4 million on tourismrelated industries in the Mid West — over the WA Day June long weekend.
Tourism related includes accommodation, food and beverage.
The 12 events were the Geraldton Golf Club Amateur Open, the Geraldton Softball Association June carnival, the Woorree Park BMX Club super series, the Kalbarri Adventurethon, the Mullewa Master and Rodeo, the La FiammaCanning City Football West match, the Buccaneers-Giants SBL clash, the Geraldton Longboard Winter Classic, the Geraldton Amateur Swimming Club’s shortcourse classic, the Australian Bowhunters Association State titles and the ladies and men’s June carnival at the Wonthella and Geraldton bowling clubs.
More than 450 staff, volunteers and officials co-ordinated the events.
On average, each visitor spent $275.
The information — the third set of economic impact data collected from activities over the June long weekend — forms part of the Mid West Sports Federation’s Mid West Sports Tourism Project.
MWSF chairman Mike Bowley said the region’s sport sector was being reinforced as a strong contender for future events and investment.
“The Mid West is leading the way in recognising the value of sports tourism on a regional economy,” he said.
“The outcomes of the Mid West Sports Tourism Project will enable us to advocate with confidence for recognition, investment and support of the sport and recreation industry.
“There is much to be excited about at these statistics.
“More than 6000 visitors to the region attending (for the most part) annual sporting events is a predictable tourism market which should be recognised and supported by tourism-related industries in the Mid West.”
Former Mid West Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Glen Whistler-Carr said collaboration was “the way forward” for sports tourism.
“As a result, tourism-related businesses could greatly benefit,” Mr Whistler-Carr said.
“The benefits from hosting sporting events in our region is diverse and across the board — everyone benefits from sports tourism in the Mid West.
“By hosting events we are encouraging visitors to spend money here. Sports tourism is an income stream and we should be embracing this.
“(Sporting) events have the potential to raise the capacity of our community, build skills within our volunteer force and strengthen our region to handle bigger and more technical sporting events in future.”
Many of us might be over the West Coast Eagles great AFL grand final win by now, but I’m not.
Anyone who may be a Facebook friend would be aware that my account over the past week, has been nothing but praise for the blue and gold.
Now, I’m not as lucky, and very envious, of some of my friends who were at that momentous game.
Those in the know tell us that it was indeed a game for the ages, a battle of titanic proportions.
Liam Ryan’s heroic clash in the middle, Luke Shuey’s never-saydie determination for four quarters, and, of course, the match-winning goal by Dom Sheed.
There is no doubt, though, it was a total team effort against a quality and driven opposition.
The win was remarkable, but how about the aftermath?
The team would have expected a big welcome back in Perth, but what they got was simply amazing.
An estimated 50,000 people flooded Langley Park on the Perth foreshore to salute their heroes.
And the media was saturated with vision, pictures, posters and warming stories about the footy side that beat the odds to be crowned Best in the Land.
I was in Perth the week after the Eagles won the flag. To say it was abuzz, was an understatement.
Every shop, newsagent, supermarket, café, and restaurant I visited
was celebrating in their own way, and everyone had a smile on their face and a spring in their step.
I lined up with family members for almost an hour at the WCE store, along with many others to get my own premiership shirt, and maybe a poster and sticker or two.
The merchandise was walking out the door.
When Richmond won the flag
last year, someone painted a huge mural of champion Dustin Martin somewhere in the inner Melbourne suburb.
At the time, I thought this was a fantastic initiative by someone, a portrait among the talented laneway graffiti.
But some clever West Coast fan has upped the ante and created a sensational portrait of star forward,
Josh Kennedy. What a way for fans to celebrate by having a picture taken with the much-bigger-than-life image on a wall behind the shops in Leederville.
The reaction to the West Coast Eagles historical win is something that will not only make the 90,000 members happy, along with the thousands of unsubscribed followers, but will equate to an economic dividend for the State. When people are happy, they will spend, the more they spend, the more jobs are created.
No wonder the Premier has switched his purple scarf for a blue-and-gold one.
Peter Fiorenza is the host of SHL, Sunday 10am-noon on Radio MAMA. Tune in this week.
Artists Jacob Butler and Aidan Garnett at the Josh Kennedy mural in Leederville. Picture: The West Australian