The Atherton Tablelands will continue to reap the benefits of mountain biking and elite professional events as the 2015 Croc Trophy wraps up for another year and preparations get underway for 2016.
Attracting a record number of riders with over 100 international and Australian competitors, the Croc Trophy is one of the most well recognised global staged events to be held in region.
Tablelands Futures Corporation chair Michael Lawrence said events such as this brought many economic benefits to local businesses and their suppliers, some of which are often talked about, while others perhaps go unnoticed.
“While there is the substantial domestic and international exposure we receive through the media coverage, what many do not realise is also the exposure gained from the event’s direct promotion to attract competitors.
“What has become a huge selling point for the Croc Trophy apart from the lure of our tough terrain, is the beauty, diversity, and safety of our region as well as the opportunity for competitors to extend their visit beyond the competition with once in a lifetime post touring options.
“This message is being put in front of active consumers with a desire and the means to be able to travel, so while they perhaps may not be able to compete in the Croc Trophy for whatever reason, a holiday to Australia and Tropical North Queensland at another time may be just the ticket.”
Mr Lawrence said with more than 80% of the riders taking part in the Croc Trophy from overseas, many were looking for events held at “bucket list” destinations.
“Australia is a long way to travel for these competitors and they want to make the most of it while they are hear. We know many have extended their stay by up to four weeks so that they can get out and experience our iconic attractions.”
“It is up to all stakeholders including local councils, state government and tourism organisations to work together to strengthen our proposition, build and maintain new infrastructure and make this region as attractive as possible for other leading sporting events.”
He said the 2015 report, Benefits of Mountain Biking to the Atherton Tablelands, provided the framework for important strategic planning for the region, outlining future growth opportunities and the full potential of this sector.
“We are competing with a number of fantastic destinations, not only in Australia but internationally as well. New Zealand and Canada are just two very good examples of this. “When their ski seasons shut down, the mountain bikers return, and to such an extent that in some areas this has actually become more valuable than skiing to their local economies,” he added.
“The advantages the Atherton Tablelands has over many of these destinations is that we are open for business all year round and our mountain bike trails, which have been constructed to world class standards, are a viable tourism attraction and already provide a significant economic stimulus to the local economy.
“If we are able to harness the full potential of this sport, we would be able to inject millions of dollars into our economy when specialised local events are held.”