CQUniversity economist Professor John Rolfe says regional Queensland has 11 years to prepare for the flow-on effects of the Brisbane 2032 Olympic Games – and it should start planning now.
Brisbane was officially announced as the successful bidder for the 2032 Olympic Games yesterday (21 July) and Prof Rolfe believes regional Queensland is likely to see significant boosts to tourism before and after the event.
'While the direct benefits for the regions will probably be limited' depending on the number of training events held in the regions' the larger benefits to the regions will come from the indirect effects of increased inbound tourism to the state'' Prof Rolfe said.
'It is very likely that large numbers of overseas visitors will come to the event and then stay on as tourists' and those effects will be more widely spread across the regions.'
He said there was some potential for regional Queensland to host some Olympic events and athletes if they had suitable facilities and infrastructure.
'Essentially the regions have been given an eleven-year planning window to identify opportunities for training events and tourism activities' and to mount a case where additional investment is needed'' he said.
'I think there are some good intentions to host training activities in the regions' but the quality of facilities is likely to be a key factor in capitalising on these opportunities.
'The Olympics also provide an opportunity for longer term planning for private businesses in the tourism and hospitality sectors' and I expect that this will provide more certainty about longer term investments and upgrades.'
He said the logistics of hosting Olympic events in the regions were 'tricky'.
'The best opportunities will be where a regional area already has superior facilities and staging an event there will save infrastructure costs in South-East Queensland'' he said.
'The next best possibility is where a region can argue that it makes better sense to build new facilities and host an event in their region rather than commit more investment in south-east Queensland.'
Ultimately' Prof Rolfe saw the tourism potential as Olympian.
'Tourism post-Covid is turning out to be quite different because we are seeing Australians substituting domestic travel for international travel. I expect this effect to last for quite a long time as Australia opens up slowly to more international travel'' he said.
'The Olympics offers opportunities for a major boost in international tourism in 2032. The challenge for the Australian tourism sector in regional areas is to cater for domestic tourism demands at present' and then gradually morph to appeal to more international demands by 2032.'