SOME Surfers Paradise businesses say they did not benefit from this year’s Gold Coast 600 event.
Surfers Paradise Alliance is calling for greater engagement between the organisers of the Castrol EDGE Gold Coast 600 and Surfers Paradise traders and business operators.
It comes after trading figures showed the event failed to deliver improved results to the precinct, rather, producing a negative or no improved economic impact for two-thirds of local businesses during the event weekend.
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Surfers Paradise Alliance CEO Mike Winlaw said the event had the potential to be a great asset to local businesses, however, a lack of engagement and consideration from organisers saw visitors in the precinct down as much as 73% during peak evening trading periods compared to non-event weekends.
“There is no doubt the Castrol EDGE Gold Coast 600 is a fantastic event and we want to support it, but the figures this year have been very disappointing, showing the event actually had a negative impact on many Surfers Paradise traders and business operators,” Mr Winlaw said.
“Visitors to the precinct were down significantly compared to the weeks pre- and post- the event.
“Our night traders and business operators were the hardest hit with visitors to the precinct remarkably down on the pre and post weekend visitor numbers.”
Mr Winlaw said one of the major causes of the disappointing figures was the decision to move this year’s Castrol EDGE Gold Coast 600 concert to the Broadwater Parklands, which in 2013 had delivered significant numbers into the Surfers Paradise precinct.
“This decision to move the concert hit us hard,” Mr Winlaw said.
“The foot traffic in the precinct in 2014 at 11pm was down on 2013 figures at 11pm by 39% on the Friday night (17K 2014 vs 28K 2013) and 25% on the Saturday night (15K 2014 vs 20K 2013).”
Mr Winlaw said meaningful communication between the event organisers and local business is the only way to ensure the event thrives and is of benefit to the whole community.
“Surfers Paradise is the perfect location for events of this type, and our hard-working local businesses know exactly how to maximise opportunities and give visitors to the precinct exactly what they want,” Mr Winlaw said.
“But they cannot do it if the basic structure is not in place to ensure these events create the opportunities rather than take them away.
“Given the amount of State Government funding the event receives, it is essential that we get this right for the Surfers Paradise business community.
“We are very much looking forward to working with the organisers of the Castrol EDGE Gold Coast 600 to ensure that local businesses are considered in the planning stages of the 2015 event.
“We are also going to be working towards bringing the concert back to Surfers Paradise and stronger activation to improve the small crowds that attended the V8 Superfest events as part of the wider Gold Coast 600 this year.”
We believe that organisers need to improve access to the precinct and stop the negative publicity and constant road reports around “stay out of Surfers Paradise” because of road closures.
“This constant barrage of publicity keeps people out of the precinct and instead we should be improving and advertising that access to the precinct from the South and Western road corridors are still very viable during the event,” Mr Winlaw said.
The GC600 organisers have responded saying that they did try to engage with Surfers Paradise Alliance in the lead-up to last month’s race, but did not have any luck. They added they are always happed to engage with any traders.
The people behind the GC600 also said that the reason the entertainment was not held on Surfers beach this year was because the high tide would have made it impossible.
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