Complete Sports Marketing director Rick Sleeman in Gympie this week.
Complete Sports Marketing director Rick Sleeman in Gympie this week. Renee Pilcher

Gympie a sports tourism spot

WITH the Australian Cricket Association’s world masters tour confirmed for Gympie in October, Gympie Regional Council’s investment in Complete Sports Marketing (CSM) is starting to pay off.

CSM, headed by former IMG director Rick Sleeman, was retained by council to help attract major sporting events to the region.

This week Mr Sleeman held meetings with accommodation providers and businesses set to benefit from major events such as the masters tour.

Mr Sleeman said regional sports tourism was big business and growing.

“The good news for Gympie is that their share of this elusive market is about to increase exponentially.

“Tourism research Australia indicates, on average, a sports tourist and accompanying partner will spend on average $219 per person per day (in the region), whereas a leisure tourist will spend in order of $163 per person per day,” he said.

Gympie Mayor Ron Dyne said all this interest in our region from state and national sporting bodies reflected the calibre of local sporting organisations and facilities.

“This has also been reinforced through a recent Capability and Capacity Assessment. This assessment highlights the potential for sporting organisations using council-owned facilities to host major sporting events in the region,” he said.

“The study has also identified opportunities to strengthen relationships between council and local sports associations. The information identifies areas where these associations can develop skills and capabilities to further develop their capacity to grow and develop,” he said.

Council’s Sport and Recreation Committee chairman Cr Jan Watt said there were some major potential benefits for the region if businesses and the community worked together with council to embrace “sporting tourism”.

“Sport is no longer just recreation; in commercial terms it offers economic, social and community opportunities,” she said.

“Visitation is increased to the area and, as we have seen in the research for the Mary Valley tourism product, sport and recreational activities are a major drawcard. And once a person encounters this region for the first time, they are recorded as returning up to six times in a year.

“If we can attract thousands more people during a year to the Gympie region for the first time, just think what that could potentially result in - many more independent visits and spending in the area.

"As Sport and Recreation chair for Gympie Regional Council I know of the level of work behind the scenes in this area and it is very satisfying to be able to bring this type of program and opportunity... to boost the economy, raise the profile and in turn bring the businesses and community together for the general benefit of our area.”

The World Masters tour will visit Gympie on October 23 and 24; retired and active state and national cricketers will hold a junior sports clinic and face the pitch for a top level match.

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