‘Oscars’ of Aussie events are headed our way
THE 'OSCARS' are coming.
They may be a little down on Hollywood heavyweights but the 'Oscars' of the events world are headed to the Sunshine Coast along with some of the industry's heavy hitters.
Novotel Twin Waters Resort and The Events Centre Caloundra will be the events centres of the nation for the next three years, with the Australian Event Awards to be held on the Coast from 2016-18.
The bid put together in partnership between the Sunshine Coast Council and Business Events Sunshine Coast, a unit of Visit Sunshine Coast, earned plenty of plaudits at the announcement of the winning bid.
"It was a hell of a bid," Australian Event Awards managing director Ian Steigrad said.
"The search (for the new destination) was tough."
So tough in fact Mr Steigrad was forced to sit through gruelling afternoons of sampling local fares from around the country, tales he regaled to laughs from the gathered crowds.
"It was an enthusiastic, impressive, collaborative bid," he said of the Coast's submission.
"We are the Oscars of the Australian events. We aim to light the importance of the events industry itself."
Hosting the awards for the next three years is set to bring a $1.2 million windfall to the region according to Visit Sunshine Coast estimates, as well as put the region in the forefront of minds of some of the nation's major event organisers.
The aim is to see families join attendees over the next three events, extending their stays beyond the awards and ensuing two-day Australian Events Symposium.
Sunshine Coast Council Tourism, Sport and Major Events Portfolio councillor Jason O'Pray welcomed the announcement, citing the awards as one of the "greatest commercials" the region could have.
Previous winners of the Australian Event Awards include:
- Gold Coast International Marine Expo
- Vivid Sydney
- The Australian Open
- Byron Bay Bluesfest
- Queensland Engineering and Mining Expo
He said $100 million was expected to be generated in economic benefit to the region this year through events, and said he would "stand dancing" if the Coast wasn't the single greatest events centre by the end of the year, such was the enthusiasm of the man introduced as the Coast's 'Minister for Fun' by MC Ralph Devlin.
Visit Sunshine Coast acting CEO Simon Latchford said the business events market was so lucrative as it provided midweek injections to the local economy.
"We need to work together to fill the stadium that is the Sunshine Coast," he said of the approach needed to help the Coast compete against other major cities in the events space.
About 400-500 people are expected to attend the awards, while about another 200-300 will visit the symposium as well as an online audience of about 700 people will watch on.
The 2016 and 2018 editions will be hosted by Novotel Twin Waters Resort while the 2017 event will be at The Events Centre Caloundra.
This year's awards will be held at Novotel Twin Waters on Wednesday, September 21.
The Events Centre Caloundra's general manager Gary Mears said the awards were a "fantastic" boost for the facility.