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Sport drives WA events tourism

OVERWHELMING demand for flights out of South Africa for the international Rugby Union test match between the Wallabies and Springboks in Perth in August has forced Qantas to divert an international flight through Perth.

With an estimated economic impact of $8.5 million, the rugby represents the pointy end of events tourism in WA.

EventsCorp event developer director Mike Rees said EventsCorp had worked very hard with travel operators in South Africa to ensure the test generated strong business and interest.

“Within events tourism, sports tourism is probably the most significant contributor because it’s well established,” Mr Rees said.

Travel operators in South Africa expressed concerns that there simply wasn’t sufficient capacity to meet the demand for flights, so EventsCorp contacted Qantas and negotiated for an international flight out of Johannesburg to be diverted through Perth.

In just 15 minutes the additional 150 seats the Qantas flight provided were sold.

The last rugby international held in Perth between South Africa and Australia in Perth played to sell-out crowd of 40,000 people at Subiaco Oval.

In addition to the economic impact for Perth and WA, televised broadcasts of the game showcase Perth to millions of people all over the world

EventsCorp estimates sports tourism generates $7.9 billion of Australia’s gross national product every year.

Despite the ongoing negotiations with the Subiaco Council in relation to public transport costs, EventsCorp also is in discussions regarding the 2003 Rugby Union World Cup.

“It’s probably one of the biggest events in 2003,” Mr Rees said.

“The Australian Rugby Union have put it to us and we’re having discussions.”

The 1999 Rugby World Cup reached an estimated television audience of three billion people worldwide.

“In 1999, the televised broadcast went to 209 countries and 3,750 media attended the event,” Mr Rees said. “We’ve got lots of work to do in terms of analysis and then we’ve got to put it to the government, and it’s up to them as to whether they believe it’s justifiable.

“And then there’s this problem of the council.”

It’s understood the Australian Rugby Union will question whether it’s worth hosting a number of World Cup games in Perth if the issues raised by Subiaco Council are not resolved.

The Subiaco Council has agreed to approve this year’s test match, but the other four games in the contract are still hanging in the balance.

“The Subiaco Council has an agenda of trying to increase the amount of public transport to the game,” Mr Rees said.

The council agreed to a proposal where the cost of public transport was incorporated into the ticket cost. However, to approve the next four games in the series, the council wants the football commission to incorporate the cost of public transport into tickets for the AFL.

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