27 November, 2023
$58m boost to Cairns
MORE than $58 million has been injected into the local economy over the past two years through a Council program focusing on attracting major events to the region including Ironman Cairns, Crankworx Cairns and Red Hot Summer Tour.
The Major and Economic Events Outcomes Report, tabled at Wednesday’s Council meeting, outlined the economic impacts of events supported by the Major and Economic Events sponsorship program.
Council invested $2.7 million over 2021/22 and 2022/23 through the program to support 25 events, including 7 Cairns Marathon Festival, Ironman Cairns, Red Hot Summer Tour, Crankworx Cairns, and NRL pre-season games.
The report, by independent consultant BASCO Consulting, estimated total economic impact of the events was $58.4 million ($18.3 million in 2021/22 and $40.1 million in 2022/23), achieved through attracting 52,650 visitors and almost 224,000 visitor nights.
Mayor Terry James said the outcomes achieved through the sponsorship program surpassed expectations, particularly given the challenging circumstances posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“These programs have been instrumental in attracting and supporting events that have not only bolstered the local economy but also heightened the profile of Cairns as a premier event destination,” he said.
“Notably, the economic impact nearly doubled from 2021/22 to 2022/23, reflecting the effectiveness of the Council’s support for events and the resilience of the Cairns region during the COVID recovery period.
“The funding aligns with the Cairns and Great Barrier Reef Event Strategy 2025, a collaborative initiative with Tourism Tropical North Queensland, which has a primary focus of attracting events that provide a significant economic benefit and bolster our status as a premier destination.”
Tourism Tropical North Queensland Chief Executive Officer Mark Olsen said events played a key role in boosting the visitor economy during the shoulder seasons ensuring that the tourism dollar continued to benefit the community year-round.
“TTNQ works closely with Cairns Regional Council to promote tourism experiences to visitors attending events to extend their length of stay in the region,” he said.
“This is especially important with annual events such as Ironman Cairns and the 7 Cairns Marathon Festival so that we can encourage competitors to return with family and friends.”
Cr James said Council would continue to look for opportunities to boost Cairns’ reputation as a top-tier destination for event, be it leisure, adventure or sports tourism, arts and cultural experiences, or business events at the refurbished Cairns Convention Centre.
“Council remains committed to nurturing and attracting events that not only boost the local economy but also promote Cairns as a vibrant and thriving city,” he said.
“These events are also great for our local community, who get the chance to see elite sport and entertainers, and for many of these events, get the chance to participate.”