Olympics will put our region in the spotlight
WHEN thousands of polocrosse competitors flocked to Warwick for the world cup, Linda Tillman knew this one event would make big changes to the small regional city.
With the State Government proceeding with its Olympic Games bid, she's convinced regional Queensland has what it takes to host the world's best athletes.
Experts and business leaders have pointed to acclimatisation and training camps as the main tourism driver for the regions, should Queensland be successful in its 2032 Olympic bid.
Under current disbursal projections by the Australian Olympic Committee, half of the tourism and economic benefits would flow straight into cities outside of the Brisbane and Gold Coast areas.
Ms Tillman, the managing director of rural tourism body Tilma Group, has first-hand experience seeing what world-class events could do for small communities after helping organise the Adina Polocrosse World Cup in April.
The event ended up pumping more than $5.6 million into Warwick's economy as more than 44,000 visitors descended on the city, visiting shops, supermarkets and hidden tourist gems.
"What we saw with the World Cup is all of the competitors and their support crews come in prior to the event," Ms Tillman said.
"You have a range of different people from different countries living in that community for up to a month. They were going to the supermarket, walking around town.
"It certainly has a broader flow-on effect because there's that scope for them (the visitors) to extend their stay."
But the bigger business picture goes beyond hosting a few weeks of sports and training camps.
An AOC spokesman said Japan had transformed its international-bound tourism since winning the chance to host next year's Games in Tokyo.
"They originally forecast 20 million international visitors to Japan by 2020, but they reached that target by 2018 and are growing so quickly they have doubled it.
"Queensland would have a similar opportunity over 10 years into 2032.
"On current disbursal patterns, half of that would flow into regional Queensland."
According to the International Olympic Committee, British, Australian and German visitors generated an extra $345 million in tourism revenue during the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.
After the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, tourism arrivals in the eight months of 2015 increased by 7 per cent compared to the same period in 2014.