$2m haul from events

Geraldton Guardian - - SPORT - Pe­ter Sweeney

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

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