With the inaugural Westrac Bunbury Geographe Gift fast approaching, Mayor Gary Brennan is hopeful of the positive impact the event will have on the region’s economy.
There is of course the direct benefit of providers of transport and hospitality enjoying increased demand for their services, but also “indirect benefit [arising] from first time visitors to Bunbury hopefully being impressed with their experience and informing their networks of a positive experience” Mayor Brennan said.
“A similar result should arise from media coverage of the event,” he said, “that coverage should include the quality of recreational and other facilities we have in Bunbury that may attract more interest in Bunbury being a venue for other sporting activities.”
Event organiser Jo O’Dea is pleased with the amount of support she has been receiving.
“We’ve had a lot of positive feedback from locals, being such an unusual event for WA,” Ms O’Dea said.
And it’s not only the locals getting excited for the Gift. The appealing $78,000 prize-pool of the event has attracted many interstate competitors, including Riley Day and Trae Williams, two young internationally recognised athletes.
“We’re very fortunate to have the fastest man and woman in Australia coming to our town to compete,” Ms O’Dea said she recognised the advantages of having such high-profile athletes competing in the Gift, a potential draw to other interstate athletes.
With around 180 competitors in the adult races, the prediction is that two thirds of these entrants will be from outside the Bunbury-Geographe region, mostly from the Perth Metropolitan area, but with a significant portion from interstate. With travel partners, and an expected stay of two to three nights, the South West Development Commission predicts an economic benefit of $84,000.
It won’t only be accommodation and transport services benefitting from the influx of visitors. While there are many free, family-oriented events during the day, Ms O’Dea said evening events for the Gift had been scaled back to “allow local businesses to host and become further involved”.
Organisers will be running surveys throughout the weekend to further gauge the economic impact of the event, and hopefully help inform how the region may benefit from future Gift events.
The Westrac Bunbury Geographe Gift runs from April 28th to 29th.