Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

IRONMAN Is a Pathway to Sustainable Tourism

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

IRONMAN Is a Pathway to Sustainable Tourism

Article excerpt

"I DIDN'T realise they were that good" was the comment passed by a bloke in my wife's gym class Thursday night.

He was referring to the cyclist he had encountered on the David Low Way motoring along at 60mph in a training run for Sunday's IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships.

Lest anyone mistake what's happening on the Sunshine Coast we have in our midst a collection of more than 3000 elite endurance athletes from across the globe who have qualified to compete here both professionally and in age groups.

They are an interesting demographic which includes everyone from captains of industry to TV soap stars and a surprising number who have turned to sports later in life after establishing successful careers.

What makes them particularly attractive to the Sunshine Coast tourism sector is that they are staying for between five days and three weeks and injecting money during a brief dip in an otherwise stellar run for the industry.

And this hasn't been by some stroke of good luck or fortune.

Anyone with an awareness of the Coast's connection to multi-discipline sports would be aware it's an involvement that has been long and evolving resulting in the emergence of Garth Prowd's United Sports Marketing (USM) which brought the Noosa and Mooloolaba triathlons and bike races to the region and with it a new market for tourism.

How anyone could have ever thought that a noisy, deadly car race through a Sunshine Coast hinterland already being marketed for its intrinsic amenity was a good idea clearly hadn't thought it through.

Ironman, triathlons and cycling road racing, however, make a perfect fit.

Yes there is disruption but this event has brought here a wonderfully diverse group whose experience will hopefully send them away as ambassadors for the place as a naturally refreshing, welcoming community that made them feel at home.

Certainly the feedback I've received is we have been found to be friendly and helpful and the environment we live in to be stunning.

Major events is a strategy embarked on by Sunshine Coast Council which has already paid dividends and has enormous potential.

It shows there are far better ways to build a market than simply building as many beds as possible and filling the joint with low-fare holiday makers three times a year. …

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