Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Elton: Experience Economy; Joining the Big Show Success

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Elton: Experience Economy; Joining the Big Show Success

Article excerpt

Byline: Troy Kippen troy.kippen@dailymercury.com.au

THE hoards of people who will come to Mackay to see Sir Elton John are chasing that once-in-a-lifetime experience.

And many stakeholders are hoping the concert will be a life-changing experience for Mackay tourism also.

Tourism has always been somewhat of an economic pillar to Mackay, but in recent years it's been a distant third cousin to the mine services and sugar industries.

But event tourism - an area Mackay looks poised to leap into in 2017 - could tip the balance and a successful Elton concert could be the kickstart the fledging industry needs.

Already Mackay has seen the benefit of hosting major events; airport general manager Rob Porter has confirmed Virgin were operating charter flights from Melbourne to Mackay for this weekend's AFL clash between the Gold Coast Suns and Essendon Bombers.

But there is still plenty of room for the industry to grow.

"High profile events such as the Elton John concert announced for September play a dual role in attracting visitors to the region and offering huge opportunities to promote the Mackay region to a global audience," Mr Porter said.

"An event of this scale could even see more charter flights operate."

According to Mackay Regional Council's acting manager for economic development Teona Cousin, it is events that bring tourists that are exactly what Mackay needs to increase its growth from tourism.

"There really isn't a benchmark on the economic benefit of major events because every one is different," Ms Cousin said.

"Events like sporting tournaments, junior and state championships, they go up to 15 days. That (economic benefit) is considerable... we have a lot of people coming and staying, they eat out and do activities. With things like the Elton John concert, one or two nights, and a big hit at once. …

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