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