Sports tourism feeding the local economy
RESTAURANTS and bars across the Coffs Coast have been asked to consider flexible trading hours this weekend to cater to the 12,000 Oztag players and spectators in town for the Junior State Cup.
The call comes after feedback from Oztag officials and participants to Coffs Harbour City Council expressed difficulty in finding somewhere open to dine after the competition ends at around 8pm.
The council said high volumes of people are predicted to stay predominantly between Woolgoolga and Sawtell, emphasising the need to cater to visitors across the region this weekend.
Chief executive of Oztag Australia Bill Harrigan said for the businesses who extend their hours its well worth the investment in the short and long term.
"A lot of the areas they (spectators and players) have stayed they keep going back to," Mr Harrigan said.
"It's because they've had a great experience and they go back to the same restaurants, the same bars, that sort of thing."
For the past 10 years, Mr Harrigan has visited Coffs Harbour for various Oztag competitions and has built a strong rapport with various businesses in town.
"I just love it, we've eaten in quite a few restaurants and they say 'ah, you're back again. We knew you guys were coming, we're ready for you,'" he said.
Coffs Harbour City Council suggested the use of social media for businesses to communicate extended hours with the Oztag teams via their Instagram account, NSW_Oztag or Facebook page.
Sporting events, like the Oztag Junior State Cup, are a major economic driver across the Coffs Coast delivering $30 million annually into the local economy.
Junior Oztag State Cup: February 12-14
Sheffield Shield Cricket: February 25-28
Ella 7s Rugby Union: March 4-5
National Touch League: March 9-13
Over 60s Cricket State of Origin Carnival: March 21-22
Northern NSW Football Boys State Championships: June 11-13