Mountain Biking is one of the world’s fastest growing recreational, sport and tourism activities and is an area of potential growth for Townsville North Queensland. The region’s diverse environment, outstanding scenery and range of complimentary attractions and accommodation options perfectly positions Townsville North Queensland to take advantage of this growing trend. Townsville is also blessed with a strong local mountain bike community led by the Townsville Rockwheelers.
Last year, the Townsville North Queensland Bid Fund secured the Townsville Mountain Bike Festival for two years. This event will generate 2,880 guest nights and inject $722,880 into the local economy each year. Not only do major events like this create significant economic stimulus for the host city, but they also enhance the destination’s attractiveness and more specifically, strengthen Townsville’s position as the home of regional Australia’s best events.
Townsville was chosen by Mountain Bike Australia to host the national event due to its diverse landscape and experiences on offer for visitors. The event will attract over 300 competitors to the region and provide an opportunity for the city to be marketed across the country.
The festival will be held from 29 April – 5 May 2017 and again in 2018, encompassing a number of events including, the XCM (Marathon) National Championships and a staged race which will cater for bikers from amateur to elite level. The event offers competitors the opportunity to be crowned the Australian Marathon National Champion and will have mountain bike enthusiasts following the competition from across the country.
Mountain Bike Australia successfully secured $195,000 in funding through the Queensland Government’s State Development Program which will assist in the delivery of the Townsville Mountain Bike Festival. The Townsville City Council also committed $50,000 over three years towards the event’s track development and infrastructure.
CEO of Mountain Bike Australia, Shane Coppin, said that the funding will help them deliver a spectacular event in Townsville. “As a destination, Townsville has an incredible amount to offer mountain bikers of all levels, including sensational views all within a beautiful tropical location. The views experienced riding along the cliff’s edge at Pallarenda overlooking Magnetic Island are second-to-none.”
Events such as these are not just about the sport – it’s about the destination and maximising the region’s natural beauty and landscape to provide participants, supporters, family and friends with a unique experience and holiday.
Whether they’re lycra-clad, in it for the leisurely cruise, or like getting dirty on the downhill, Townsville is brimming with cycling enthusiasts.
We have an opportunity, through this event, to transform Townsville into one of the top mountain biking destinations in the country. This event will see spectacular images of the destination showcased across social media and in magazines across the country, strengthening the profile of Townsville North Queensland and the opportunity to attract additional visitation to the region.
The long term aim of attracting national level mountain biking events to the region is to position Townsville North Queensland as a destination for Mountain Biking Tourism and ultimately drive visitor expenditure. A number of destinations in Australia, New Zealand and around the world have invested in this trend and are now reaping the benefits.
Derby, Tasmania, invested $2.5 million in 40km of bike tracks and has since hosted the Australian Marathon Mountain Bike Championships. Since the work began in 2013 the number of cafes in Derby has doubled and tourist accommodation has tripled. Within three years, Mountain Bike Tourism is expected to add $15 million to the region’s economy and generate nearly 100 jobs.
Rotorua, New Zealand, is also a destination that has invested heavily in Mountain Bike Tourism and is now enjoying the return on that initial outlay. In 2012 it was predicted that mountain bike riders using Rotorua’s Whakarewarewa Forest were injecting $10.2 million into the economy each year. Rotorua Airport is now using Mountain Bike Tourism as one of its main strategies for promoting Air New Zealand’s Sydney-Rotorua flight route.
Victoria’s Otway Odyssey, one of Australia’s most respected off-road cycling events, is embarking on its 11th year of operation. The two day event regularly sells out, with an average of 1,700 competitors generating a $1 million boost to the local Forrest economy. This iconic event provides exposure of the region and leads to increased visitation throughout the year.
Following recent investment into Mountain Biking Tourism and events by the Atherton Tablelands, a study was undertaken to explore the benefits of Mountain Biking on the area. The study includes direct bookings with local caravan parks and accommodation providers producing tangible and direct benefits for the region’s tourism industry. The Tablelands have only just started to invest in this space, with the close proximity to Townsville providing an opportunity for collaboration in driving mountain bikers to North Queensland.
Townsville North Queensland has a ripe opportunity to add the Townsville Mountain Bike Festival as a permanent fixture to its annual events calendar. An event like this is more than just racing. From local cafes and accommodation to bike repair shops, massage therapists and pubs – the event is far reaching. It’s not just for competitors, but for their family, friends and the local community. Whether they’re lycra-clad up Hervey’s Range, in it for the leisurely cruise, or like getting dirty on the downhill at Mount Stuart, Townsville is brimming with cycling enthusiasts. This is an untapped market that can continue to put our destination on the map. Gear up, and watch this space!