Major events helping to shape Cairns region's fortunes
A RECORD influx of Chinese revellers, the expansion of the city's ironman challenge and a National Rugby League match will pump tens of millions of dollars into the economy and generate international exposure for the Far North in 2013.
Business leaders say a packed calendar of events such as the Cairns Airport Adventure Festival, which generated almost $9 million last year, as well as new additions including the Great Barrier Reef Masters Games in August, are tipped to attract thousands of tourists and showcase the region as a hot spot for future international events.
The city is also expected to host up to 20,000 Chinese New Year revellers next month arriving on 24 direct services by China Eastern and China Southern and charter flights from Taiwan and Hong Kong. Tourism Tropical North Queensland chief executive Rob Giason said hosting the majority of events in the "shoulder season" meant an extension of the tourist season, leading to a boost in business and supporting long-term infrastructure development.
"Events are about the diversification of the industry from just leisure," he said.
"It brings new people into the region and it gives us a spike in publicity.
"Events like Cairns Ironman go global, it opens up a new dimension for the destination.
"They attract a lot more people here in a different season who consume with high levels of expenditure. Sports events like the AFL last year have seen better infrastructure, like new lights being put on at Cazalys and the oval upgraded. This benefits locals over a long period of time, it's a win-win for everybody."
Mr Giason said an increase in tourists would also harness word-of-mouth marketing for future opportunities.
"The level of interest in events like the Cairns Airport Adventure Festival (which recorded an annual growth of $1.3 million last year) is phenomenal and highlights our tagline 'Adventurous by nature,'" he said.
"It puts us on the global stage for other events we're eyeing off. The cycling world is one that lends itself to this environment and a long-term objective is to have a tropical institute for sports here. Having the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016 is a good opportunity for us to strive for that position, bringing a balance of science which will also provide global interest and attraction in the region."
Cairns Airport Ironman project manager Tammy Barker said individual entries into the half ironman had sold out, despite the event being some six months away.
"We're over 1400 (entries) for the ironman and on the half we're over 1400 as well," she said.
"We are very close to selling out for the ironman.
"The course is proving itself to be one of the best courses in Australia. They are loving the cycle course and the word is spreading around."
An additional coup this year will be the NRL match between South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Gold Coast Titans in Cairns.
Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland Far North Queensland chairman Brett Moller says practice makes perfect when it comes to the growth of Far Northern events.
"The more we do it, the better we get at it," he said.
"We did it well in 2012. AFL games, the Cairns Challenge and the eclipse brought people to town. A regional, domestic and international focus is the marketing dollar you just can't buy when you put Cairns and the region on the map."
Events to look forward to in 2013
Chinese New Year Street Festival – February 9
Feast of the Senses – April 12-21
The Great Wheelbarrow Race – May
Tour of the Tropics Festival of Cycling – May 25-26
Cairns Airport Adventure Festival and Cairns Ironman – June 2-9
NRL Cairns fixture Rabbitohs v Titans –
Cairns to Karumba Bike Ride – June 22-29
Cairns Ukulele Festival – July 4-7
AFL Cairns fixture Richmond v Gold Coast – July 13
Great Barrier Reef Masters Games – August 9-11
Cairns Cup Carnival – August 10-11
Big Talk One Fire – August 16
Cairns Festival – August
Gordonvale Pyramid Race – August
Cairns Amateurs Carnival – September 6-7
Cardiac Challenge – September 28-30
NEW CAIRNS.COM.AU COMMENT POLICY
We welcome your comments on this story. Comments are submitted for possible publication on the condition that they may be edited. Comments submitted without a full name and suburb/location will not be considered for publication. Please read our full comment policy and publication guidelines.
Share this article
Big game: The AFL match in Cairns will be one of the big attractions in the Far North in 2013.