Tourism lacks support

ABOUT 7,500 surf lifesavers will descend on Scarborough Beach in 2007 and generate more than $20 million in direct spending in Western Australia.

However, the chances are most people in Perth will be unaware of the recent tourism coup. According to Tourism Council WA president Manny Papadoulis Perth’s main-stream media outlets have neglected to highlight significant good news for WA’s fledgling tourism industry.

“When we win events like this the mainstream media have to get behind them,” Mr Papadoulis said.

“One of the biggest things with events is the media coverage they get.”

EventsCorp, which was actively involved in poaching the Surf Lifesaving Championships from Queensland, is also disappointed by the lack of media spotlight.

EventsCorp event development manager Gavin Gabrielson said coverage was vital to securing and maintaining events in WA.

“It is crucial to the value which the event brings,” he said.

“We promote to these organisations that WA and the business community embrace the sport and revel in the participation and we have good spectator numbers.

“It is important that people know what’s going on in this town.”

Mr Gabrielson said the lack of good mainstream print coverage was just as evident on the commercial television networks. 

“It did not get on television either. They told us they didn’t want the good news, it wasn’t controversial enough,” he said.

“If the press don’t support the event then it makes it difficult for WA to compete.

“Everybody needs to pull together, the politicians can’t do it alone.”

Mr Gabrielson said the Surf Lifesaving Championships would provide a significant boost to local businesses.

“Thousands of competitors will be here for seven days, however, our research shows that because of our distance, people are more likely to also take a holiday here,” he said.

WA will host the annual event in 2007, 2008, and 2009 and it is expected to generate $25.6 million in direct spending.

The Surf Lifesaving Championships have been hosted in Queensland for ten years, however, Surf Lifesaving Australia opted to rotate the championships to different States every three years.

According to Mr Gabrielson, the bidding process was extremely competitive but WA’s bid was stronger largely because of the participation of the City of Stirling and Surf Lifesaving WA.

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