Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Too Much Money to Missouton? Business Wants Share of Schoolies Cash Flow

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Too Much Money to Missouton? Business Wants Share of Schoolies Cash Flow

Article excerpt

Byline: Kathy Sundstrom

THE Sunshine Coast's business leaders have called on the region to embrace schoolies once again.

Chambers of Commerce Alliance Sunshine Coast president Michael Shadforth and Sunshine Coast Business Council chairwoman Sandy Zubrinich believe the Coast cannot afford to turn its back on the multi-million-dollar boost schoolies could provide.

The Coast once had a vibrant schoolies scene with activities organised by council, including live entertainment on Mooloolaba Beach.

But the council withdrew its support in 2008, activities were axed and the number of teenagers heading for the Coast quickly fell off.

Today, only a few graduates looking for a quiet getaway turn up.

"To turn your back on this market is ridiculous," Mr Shadforth said as the Gold Coast geared up to attract tens of thousands of young revellers.

"These (schoolies) are loyal Queenslanders who will one day be looking to holiday somewhere when they are married with kids.

"Schoolies is an incredible opportunity to impress upon people to holiday here. If they talk about how great schoolies is, it sticks in their head.

"Some come here, find nothing to do and that sticks in their head and they don't come back for a long time.

"The 'nothing to do here' is not a brand we really want.

"It's important to understand the sophisticated organisation that goes into schoolies' events. It's a long way from 20 years ago."

Ms Zubrinich said kids had "just as much right to enjoy the Sunshine Coast as any other location".

"They can spend their money on the Gold Cost, why not spend their money on this Coast?" she said.

"We have put a stigma on a part of society we should be embracing not ostracising. Their money is as good as anyone else's."

Sunshine Coast Destination CEO Simon Ambrose said the Coast was "not traditionally a popular schoolies destination, however, we do offer an alternative as a safe, natural destination". …

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