Aussies countdown reaches important milestone
  • Thursday 12 November 2015
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The countdown for the 2016 Aussies hits a new milestone today with entries to officially open for a nine-day celebration of surf lifesaving that will deliver an estimated $20 million in economic benefits to the Sunshine Coast.Hosted by the Maroochydore, Alexandra Headland and Mooloolaba surf lifesaving clubs,

The Aussies will run over nine days of competition from April 16-24, and will again include Youth, Masters and Open Championships.

Bigger than the 2018 Commonwealth Games in terms of anticipated competitor numbers, the Aussies are expected to draw 7000 entrants from more than 200 surf lifesaving clubs from around the country, as well as a further 15,000 supporters, officials and family members.

“We are ready for this – 2016, bring it on,” Tourism, Sport and Major Events Portfolio Cr Jason O’Pray said.

“Make no mistake, this will be the greatest Aussies ever.

“We will see a huge economic boom for our region, especially our tourism and hospitality industries in what is traditionally one of our quieter times here on the Sunshine Coast after Easter and the April school holidays.

“Many of these competitors bring family and friends along and they usually arrive a little bit ahead of the competition and hopefully for a few days afterwards, as well as returning for a holiday in the future.

“While they’re here, they’re supporting our accommodation houses, our restaurants, our cafes, our local shops and a whole range of other businesses and services.

“We know the accommodation bookings for the period of the Aussies are already very, very strong along the Coast, all the way down to Caloundra and up to Coolum.

“Our visitors have been planning for this for some time and with entries now open, they can do the formal part of making sure they’re on the starting line.

“And it’s great for our local clubs that for the first time in 30-plus years don’t have to worry about the huge expense of travelling to the Aussies. They’re right here.”

 Chair of the CCIQ Sunshine Coast Chambers of Commerce Alliance Michael Shadforth said he expected to see a positive long-term impact from having the Aussies back on the Sunshine Coast.

“Having the Aussies here is an amazing outcome for the Coast,” Mr Shadforth said.

“The great thing for us is that we will have 22,000 people here who will see not only that we are an area with great beaches, but that we are also prospering in a whole range of other areas such as health and fitness, with our food and beverage industries and our big economic drivers such as our university and the new health precinct.

“Beachside tourism retail is going to see a huge uplift and on top of that we have all the other ancillary businesses and services who are gearing up to be part of it as well.

“We will see money from this going to all areas of the Coast economy.”

Caloundra Chamber of Commerce (Tourism and Events) chair Bill Darby said the Aussies would be “one of the most eagerly awaited sporting events the region has seen for many years”.

“The sheer numbers these championships attract will ensure accommodation providers right across the Coast will benefit,” Mr Darby said.

“Also, the national exposure this event provides will boost repeat visitation for many years to come.”

Sunshine Coast Tourism CEO Simon Ambrose said: “With competitors, officials, supporters and spectators here for nine days of competition, the Aussies will be quite a boost for our tourism industry following on from the Easter period and no doubt a spectacle for the athletes, officials, families, friends and supporters.

“Away from the competition, we’ll be encouraging everyone involved to take time out to explore the magnificent Sunshine Coast and all it has to offer.”

Local businesses can tap into the benefits of the 2016 Aussies, and other major events that are held in the region, through the events+ program.

The campaign offers practical knowledge, advice and tools for business operators and also encourages businesses to collaborate and focus on working together to achieve mutually successful outcomes.

 The 2016 Aussies will take on an added significance of coinciding with the 100th anniversary of surf lifesaving on the Sunshine Coast.

They are the first national titles to be held on the Coast since 1980 when local boy Grant Kenny created surf lifesaving history by taking out both the national junior and senior ironman titles.

FACTBOX

2016 Australian surf lifesaving championships

-Dates: April 16-24

-Host beaches: Mooloolaba, Alexandra Headland, Maroochydore

-Expected number of competitors: 7000 from 200+ clubs

-Estimated economic benefit to the Sunshine Coast: $20 million

-First “Aussies” on the Sunshine Coast since 1980

-Entries and more details via sls.com.au/aussies