North Coast wants slice of action

NORTHERN Rivers tourist operators are maneuvring to capitalise on the Gold Coast's winning bid to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Russell Mills from Northern Rivers Tourism said he was writing to Gold Coast Tourism to congratulate them and offer a hand of assistance.

"It's fantastic news and hugely significant in that it is a major event taking place outside a capital city," he said.

"That opens up a lot of opportunities for regional areas like ours."

Mr Mills said Northern Rivers Tourism would also be writing to the NSW Government for assistance in marketing the region to international visitors and competitors.

"We'll be saying to them if NSW is going to benefit from this it is going to be through our region," he said.

"Major events and tourism are really joined at the hip - they tap into people's passions outside of travel - they are the impetus for large numbers of people to come and spend time and money.

"Obviously we don't have the infrastructure or capacity to host events of this scale but we stand to benefit from the overflow effect.

"Places like Byron Bay will always attract people so we'll position ourselves the same way we currently do - as low-rise, laid-back and where nature dominates the landscape.

"When you look at things like the Olympics, there is also an exodus of residents wanting to get out so that's a target market for us - people wanting to come down for a weekend in Yamba or a night at a pub on the Tweed."

Mr Mills added he would be investigating training camp opportunities to host visiting teams ahead of the games and invited interested tourist operators and sporting organisations to contact him.


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