OPINION: Weekend racing more than just a triathlon

WE REALLY are lucky to live in such a picturesque part of the world.

With views like this it’s understandable why people flock to Hervey Bay for holidays and special events. PHOTO: Shaun Ryan.

And getting to show off our little slice of paradise to thousands of visitors who spend their valuable downtime in the region makes it even better.

But it is not just the holidays that keep people flocking to the Fraser Coast.

The events industry plays an important role in attracting visitors – and their wallets – to the area, especially during off-peak periods.

Hundreds of people flocked to Hervey Bay this weekend for the Queensland School Sport Triathlon Championships.

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School students raced for state colours on Friday and Saturday.

And there in lies the benefit of large-scale sporting events to the local economy.

The students would not have just arrived on buses by themselves from across the sunshine state for the annual event.

Coaches, team managers, officials, parents, supporters and friends might all have made the trip to Hervey Bay to cheer on the athletes from the sidelines.

There’s a good chance families also booked into accommodation venues for a night or two and built a weekend away out of the championships.

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These ‘out of towners’ inadvertently provided hotels, bnbs campsites, caravan parks, restaurants and cafés a vital cash injection outside of normal school holiday periods.

And people who decided not to stay overnight on the Fraser Coast – perhaps a family member from Bundaberg just popped down to support a niece or nephew on Saturday – still made valuable contributions to the economy.

Day visitors, for example, would still need to buy lunch and perhaps refuel the car before hitting the road home.

The Fraser Coast Regional Council said this week that securing large-scale events in the region was one way of growing the local economy.

As a community, we should support our public representatives’ efforts to attract new events and keep the existing ones coming back every year.

What becomes important is that the powers that be promote events and activities that they know will be successful – and, of course, financially viable.

Organisations like Fraser Coast Tourism and Events play a major role in ensuring the region is Queensland’s playground.

One of the best outcomes for the Fraser Coast would be a family visiting the region for the first time to watch and support their child participate in a triathlon. They return home and tell their friends about the wonderful accommodation, beaches and activities available before booking another trip for themselves in a couple months to spend their annual vacation.

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You know, I believe we have some of the best whale watching in the world right on our doorstep and just a stone’s throw away from Brisbane.

We really do need to promote our home town, it’s unique attractions and friendly atmosphere whenever we get the chance.

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