Dr Jo Mackellar
Every weekend thousands of dedicated sport event participants travel to the far reaches of regional and rural Australia to compete, marshal and officiate in an increasingly diverse range of sport events. For the first time researchers from the Griffith Institute for Tourism at Griffith University have attempted to document just how many and how diverse these events are, and to consider the implications of these events on the towns that host them, and on sport participation and development.
Event tourism research explores the travel behaviours of competitors and spectators at sport (and cultural) events to determine their impact over the longer term, and their contribution to the local community. While the focus is often on the economic impact (and a $ output), other metric and non-metric indicators can guide planning decisions and contribute to a wider understanding of the contribution of the event to the community. Similarly, while larger events such as the Gold Coast Marathon are the focus of media attention, regional communities should also be aware that smaller events can provide a direct and immediate boost to the economy, and a longer term impact to the image and visitation to the destination. It is also important to assess the sectors in which benefits are likely to be seen, but also the sectors which may in fact see negative impacts from these events. Recent research from a competitor survey at the Kingscliff Triathlon illustrates these ideas.
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