CITY URGED TO VALUE VISITORS
AS THOUSANDS of revheads gear up for this weekend’s Watpac Townsville 400, community leaders have encouraged the region to “roll out the welcome mat” in a bid to entice visitors back to the city.
New Tourism and Events Queensland figures released earlier this week revealed last year’s event injected $ 34 million into the local economy with more than 120,000 visitor nights recorded.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who will be in Townsville this weekend for the race, said the Supercars was well established as one of North Queensland’s must- see events.
“This event continues to be a major drawcard for visitors to Townsville and demonstrates that Queensland has what it takes to host the best events in the best destinations,” she said.
“We understand the value of this event to the Townsville community, that’s why last year we locked in ongoing support for this event for another three years until 2019.”
Townsville Enterprise tourism and events director Bridget Woods said there was always an energetic atmosphere during the event.
“It’s the time of the year where we have a great buzz in the community,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to welcoming them ( visitors).” Ms Woods said another bumper crowd was expected to attend the event across the weekend. “It’s the perfect time to advertise Townsville, everyone can get involved,” she said. “Everyone should be talking up the city and be welcoming. We have the reef, outback and rainforest right on our doorstep.” Supercars chief executive James Warburton said another strong crowd was expected to attend this year’s event in Townsville, with competition on the track closer than it had been in recent years, and the performances of Jimmy Barnes and James Reyne tonight drawing major crowds. “We’ve seen the Townsville event grow in popularity with visitors from around Australia and overseas since we first began racing there in 2009,” he said. “It has become one of the real signature events on our calendar each year and one which visitors keep returning to, and bringing their friends. “The 2016 event results are really pleasing to see.” Scott McLaughlin, who drives for Shell V- Power Racing Team, said the Townsville track was always fun. “It’s one of the more technical tracks,” he said. “Street tracks are always technical – especially because at the start they’re very dirty with the oil from the cars so it takes a little bit to get used to. “Bathurst is one of my favourite ( tracks), Townsville is pretty good though it’s up there. It’s always awesome in Townsville.”
He said Townsville fans always came out in force.
“North Queensland doesn’t get much Supercar action, it’s exciting for them ( residents) and us to come up here.”
Minister Assisting the Premier on North Queensland and Mundingburra MP Coralee O’Rourke said visitors would have a great experience.
“This weekend Townsville will roll out the welcome mat,” she said. “To all the Supercars fans gearing up for this weekend we extend a big welcome and invite you to stay on, take a break, enjoy the local hospitality and the tourism experiences on offer in the region.”
Promo girls Chelsea White and Jessica Navin.