Tri visitors good for tourism
AS MOOLOOLABA Triathlon competitors continue to trickle out of town today they will have left an estimated $25 million in Coast coffers.
Thousands of competitors - from young swimmers through to elite international triathletes - took part in the three-day festival which concluded yesterday.
Event founder Garth Prowd has seen it evolve from humble beginnings in 1993 when it featured a mere 600 entries to an internationally recognised event.
Mr Prowd, a consultant with organiser USM events, said due to the festival's unique nature it had been insulated from the global financial crisis and had continued to bring in massive economic benefits for the Sunshine Coast.
While the event directly injected $15 million into the regional economy in areas such as accommodation, food and retail it would also create another $10 million in indirect benefits, he said.
"(For) Mooloolaba the benefit directly will be well over $15 million and if you take on the added flow-on effect it will be about another $10 million, according to our estimations.
"I don't know if you noticed, but on the Sunshine Coast for months there have been elite athletes, people riding bikes, their coaches who come from all over the world to train.
"It's the same in Noosa. I saw at the pool there were six lanes set aside each day every day for international triathletes to train."
Mr Prowd said the Noosa and Mooloolaba triathlons had been successful because they were event-based and offered attendees a number of participation opportunities.
There was also broad appeal in that it offered participants a chance to race as well as socialise and relax.
"Event tourism in those days (when the event started out) is nowhere as big as what it is now," he said.
"I and many, many other people around the world know now the resurgence in tourism is going to be to a large extent dependent on the fact people are needing more of an excuse to take a holiday.
"While we're going through a global financial crisis or a credit squeeze - whatever you want to call it - our numbers have remained constant and continue to grow and grow.
"There hasn't been a glitch.
"Noosa fills up in minutes and Mooloolaba is not far behind it in terms of how quickly it fills up."