Con­fer­ence a healthy boost

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - VIC­TO­RIA NU­GENT vic­to­ria. nu­gent@ news. com. au

PLAN­NING is un­der way for a med­i­cal stu­dents’ con­fer­ence which is ex­pected to pour more than $ 3 mil­lion into Townsville’s econ­omy dur­ing next year’s events peak sea­son.

The James Cook Univer­sity Med­i­cal Stu­dents As­so­ci­a­tion has won a bid to host the na­tional con­fer­ence, which will be at­tended by about 1500 stu- dents. The Aus­tralian Med­i­cal Stu­dents As­so­ci­a­tion con­fer­ence will be held dur­ing July, tra­di­tion­ally known for big events such as the Townsville Show and Townsville 400.

Con­fer­ence con­vener Satyen Har­go­van said the five- day stu­dent- run con­fer­ence was rarely held in re­gional ar­eas.

“It’s def­i­nitely the first time it’s been held this far north and it’s the first time it’s been in Townsville,” he said.

“Townsville’s never been on the ro­ta­tion sys­tem be­fore.”

Mr Har­go­van said the con- fer­ence was usu­ally at­tended by be­tween 1100 and 1600 stu­dents from across Aus­tralia.

“We’re com­mit­ted to bring­ing this to Townsville to show­case our area and our med­i­cal school,” he said.

“I have no doubt some of these med­i­cal stu­dents may come back and live here.”

Townsville En­ter­prise tourism and events ex­ec­u­tive man­ager Brid­get Woods said the con­fer­ence had ini­tially clashed with the Townsville 400 but they had ne­go­ti­ated with the stu­dents to avoid an ac­com­mo­da­tion short­age.

“It will be a busy week for our ac­com­mo­da­tion providers be­cause 1500 stu­dents large num­ber,” she said.

“We’re hop­ing that some mo­tels on Bowen Rd will also get flow- on ef­fects from the con­ges­tion in the CBD.”

The con­fer­ence will in­clude an aca­demic pro­gram with lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional key­note speak­ers and a so­cial cal­en­dar packed with cock­tail par­ties and theme nights, with or­gan­is­ers propos­ing to book ser­viced apart­ments in the CBD for many of the stu­dents.

Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said the event would have

is

a huge ben­e­fits for the city.

“We’re see­ing more and more of these larger con­fer­ences want­ing to get out­side cap­i­tal cities,” she said.

“It’s part of the rea­son we need a bet­ter en­ter­tain­ment and con­ven­tion cen­tre.”

Cr Hill said ac­com­mo­da­tion for the vis­it­ing stu­dents would equate to al­most 7000 nights, fill­ing ho­tels in the CBD.

“There’s the off­shoot ( ben­e­fits) … if they want to go div­ing or ex­plore af­ter the con­fer­ence or even stay on for the V8s,” she said.

Pic­ture: ZAK SIM­MONDS

NOW HEAR THIS: JCU med­i­cal stu­dent Gabrielle Dent and Shalom Chris­tian Col­lege stu­dent Thes­sa­lonica Barry, 7.

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