An array of business and tourism figures have converged for a special conference at Sippy Downs to explore how the Sunshine Coast can prepare and benefit from the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
As the ‘most loved destination in the world’ and as one of the fastest growing regions in Australia, the region appears to have a great platform for Brisbane 2032.
A range of experts explored the area’s readiness for the Games at a conference, dubbed the Sunshine Coast Regional Tourism: Preparing for 2032.
It was be hosted by the Sunshine Coast Business Council, at the University of the Sunshine Coast Auditorium today.
SCBC Chair Sandy Zubrinich said there was a great deal of expectation resting on what the Games could do to stimulate economic growth and build capacity for the region.
“As a delivery partner for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Sunshine Coast has a lot to look forward to and much to plan for, to ensure we are making the most of this opportunity to showcase our region to the rest of the world,” she said.
“This conference is about bringing more clarity to the opportunity, the need and the challenges of what it will take to build the capacity, capability and quality in tourism and hospitality services across the Sunshine Coast, including accommodation offerings, travel, entertainment and recreation.”
“We have sought to bring some of the best minds in tourism capacity building to the region to explore what needs to be achieved and how we can collaborate to maximise this opportunity.
“This is not only about the big infrastructure questions but also about preparing our small business community about what they can expect and how to prepare.”
The conference brought together key subject matter experts in the areas of tourism, hospitality services, infrastructure and economic development, including keynote speaker Tourism & Transport Forum CEO Margy Osmond.
Ms Osmond’s experience in the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games and International World Masters Games provided a unique perspective into the planning and decision-making processes required for hosting an Olympic scale event.
“I look forward to sharing my experiences regarding the transport and connectivity challenges an event of this scale can bring to a region and particularly how the small business community can plan and benefit in the lead up to the Games,” she said.
“With the Sunshine Coast’s population estimated to grow by nearly three per cent annually over the next 20 years, the seamless delivery and movement of tourists within the region will be key.”
Joining Ms Osmond at the conference was keynote speaker Urbis Director, Kate Meyrick, who has proved an enthralling speaker at previous SCBC speaking engagements on the Coast.
Ms Meyrick’s presentation explored how best to activate a vibrant tourism region.
The event also featured a panel of tourism leaders sharing insights into the region’s tourism infrastructure, capacity, demand and challenges, including Visit Sunshine Coast Chair, David Ryan.
Mr Ryan, who has a wealth of experience in the tourism industry as well as holding board positions with Sunshine Coast Airport and the Sunshine Coast Major Events Board, encouraged tourism and hospitality leaders and small business representatives from the region to attend the conference to capitalise on the opportunities the Games would bring.
“The Sunshine Coast has a relatively short window of opportunity to build on our natural strengths and create infrastructure to drive the region’s tourism economy forward,” he said.
“There are crucial infrastructure decisions needed to be made about access, attractions, activities, amenity and accommodation that can both meet the needs of a rapidly growing population and an increasingly competitive tourism market.”
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Others on the panel include Tourism and Hospitality Services AustralAsia Managing Director Rodger Powell and Transaction Services Hotels Colliers National Director, Karen Wales, with closing comments by Sunshine Coast Council’s Economic & Community Development Group Executive, Greg Laverty.
Ms Zubrinich hoped Sunshine Coast business owners will take advantage of the opportunity to hear from the impressive line-up of speakers and to be part of the discussion about leaving a positive legacy for tourism in the region for decades to come.
“There is no question that hosting an Olympic Games is a massive coup for the SEQ region and a huge planning task,” she said.
“The decisions we make now have the potential to establish the Sunshine Coast on the global stage as one of Australia’s leading holiday destinations, so we encourage business leaders, and particularly those in the tourism industry to be part of this region-shaping conversation.”
For more information on the Sunshine Coast Business Council and membership enquiries, visit Sunshine Coast Business Council.