As one of Australia’s fastest growing regions and recently recognised ‘most loved destination in the world’, is the Sunshine Coast ready for the challenges and opportunities the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games will bring to the region?
This is one of many critical questions to be discussed at the upcoming Sunshine Coast Regional Tourism: Preparing for 2032 conference hosted by the Sunshine Coast Business Council (SCBC) on 17 June.
SCBC Chair Sandy Zubrinich said there was a great deal of expectation resting on what the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games could do to stimulate economic growth and build capacity for the Sunshine Coast.
“As a delivery partner for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Sunshine Coast has a lot to look forward to and much to plan for to ensure we are making the most of this opportunity to showcase our region to the rest of the world,” Ms Zubrinich said.
“This conference is about bringing more clarity to the opportunity, the need and the challenges of what it will take to build the capacity, capability and quality in tourism and hospitality services across the Sunshine Coast including accommodation offerings, travel, entertainment and recreation.”
“We have sought to bring some of the best minds in tourism capacity building to the region to explore what needs to be achieved and how we can collaborate to maximise this opportunity. This is not only about the big infrastructure questions but also about preparing our small business community about what they can expect and how to prepare.”
The conference, being hosted at the USC Auditorium (at the USC Innovation Centre), will bring together key subject matter experts in the areas of tourism, hospitality services, infrastructure and economic development, including keynote speaker Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF) CEO Margy Osmond.
Ms Osmond’s experience in the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games and International World Masters Games will provide a unique perspective into the planning and decision-making processes required for hosting an Olympic scale event.
“I look forward to sharing my experiences regarding the transport and connectivity challenges an event of this scale can bring to a region and particularly how the small business community can plan and benefit in the lead up to the Games,” Ms Osmond said.
“With the Sunshine Coast’s population estimated to grow by nearly three per cent annually over the next 20 years, the seamless delivery and movement of tourists within the region will be key.
Joining Ms Osmond at the conference will be keynote speaker Urbis Director, Kate Meyrick who has proved an enthralling speaker at previous SCBC speaking engagements on the Coast. Ms Meyrick’s presentation will explore how best to activate a vibrant tourism region.
The event will also feature a panel of tourism leaders sharing insights into the region’s tourism infrastructure, capacity, demand and challenges, including Visit Sunshine Coast Chair, David Ryan AO.
Mr Ryan, who has a wealth of experience in the tourism industry as well as holding board positions with Sunshine Coast Airport and the Sunshine Coast Major Events Board, encouraged tourism and hospitality leaders and small business representatives from the region to attend the conference to capitalise on the opportunities the Games would bring.
“The Sunshine Coast has a relatively short window of opportunity to build on our natural strengths and create infrastructure to drive the region’s tourism economy forward,” said Mr Ryan.
“There are crucial infrastructure decisions needed to be made about access, attractions, activities, amenity and accommodation that can both meet the needs of a rapidly growing population and an increasingly competitive tourism market.”
Others on the panel include Tourism and Hospitality Services AustralAsia Managing Director, Rodger Powell and Transaction Services Hotels Colliers National Director, Karen Wales; with closing comments by Sunshine Coast Council’s Economic & Community Development Group Executive, Greg Laverty.
Ms Zubrinich hopes Sunshine Coast business owners will take advantage of the opportunity to hear from the impressive line up of speakers and to be part of the discussion about leaving a positive legacy for tourism in the region for decades to come.
“There is no question that hosting an Olympic Games is a massive coup for the SEQ region and a huge planning task,” she said.
“The decisions we make now have the potential to establish the Sunshine Coast on the global stage as one of Australia’s leading holiday destinations, so we encourage business leaders, and particularly those in the tourism industry to be part of this region-shaping conversation.”
Conference tickets can be purchased through Trybooking at http://www.trybooking.com/BZKQG with bookings closing at 5pm on Tuesday 14 June 2022.
For more information on the Sunshine Coast Business Council and membership enquiries, visit http://www.scbusinesscouncil.com.au.