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Geelong Advertiser Opinion Piece - A 'hole' in one for Geelong's event calendar

Just as bright as the fireworks display that lit our shores on New Year's Eve, 2018 for Geelong has started with a bang. Over the Australia day weekend our city-region played host to nationally and internationally acclaimed sporting events, the Festival of Sails and the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.  Both cornerstones of Geelong's annual event calendar, they bring huge benefits to our business community - supporting the visitor economy and promoting Geelong on a global stage. 

Collectively, it is estimated that the events attracted more than 200,000 visitors to our city-region, whilst simultaneously broadcasting Geelong's turquoise lifestyle across hundreds of national and international TV screens. Last year, the Festival of Sails alone generated an estimated $12 million in economic benefit, whilst the Cadel Evans race attracted an estimated national TV audience of 1.3 million, and broadcasted live to over 140 countries. With its natural amenities and infrastructure, Geelong is an excellent host for many international sporting events, and one that we should continue to leverage.

13th Beach Golf Links also recently attracted significant international attention, and further highlighted the economic benefit a sporting event can bring to our broader business community.

The award-winning golf courses are in their sixth year of hosting the Oates Vic Open, a premier event for Golf Victoria since 1957. The event draws nearly 300 male and female professional and amateur golfers from interstate and globally and, in excess of 23,000 spectators across the four tournament days.

The direct benefits that this event has on Geelong are enormous, and the procurement from local businesses alone has injected in excess of $115,000 into our local economy. Additionally, the event prides itself on supporting our local community - increasing the number of local employees by 35%; payroll by 50% and providing the opportunity for volunteers from the local football club to raise significant funds for their club by managing event parking.

Many local vendors provide a range of food and beverages in the village area during the tournament, and many other small, medium and larger Geelong based-businesses provided infrastructure support.

During the Oates Vic Open, 13th Beach General Manager, Craig Skimming highlighted that the event was a great way of enhancing civic pride. It was certainly great to see the whole community getting behind the event, with many members and residents volunteering across a multitude of roles.

It is clear that hosting the Oates Vic Open at 13th Beach provides significant exposure, not only to the venue but also to Geelong.  Over that weekend, up to 4.4 million households across Australia were able to watch the action via a delayed telecast on Fox Sports and, the event was televised internationally to 77 countries, extending as far as the USA, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

And Geelong can get used to the benefit these major events often bring to both local businesses and the broader community.  With the recent announcement that Geelong will host the ICC World T20 tournament at GMHBA Stadium in 2020, Geelong's major event calendar is looking very bright.

- Published via the Geelong Advertiser, 14/02/2018



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