National tournament to bowl over Gold Coast with benefits

27 Mar 2014 4:49 PMJann Stuckey

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Gold Coast economy will receive an injection of $45 million after securing the southern hemisphere’s largest lawn bowls event, the Australian Open, for the next five years.

Australia’s premier lawn bowls tournament will take place in Queensland annually from 2015 to 2019, delivering on the Government’s election promise to grow tourism as one of the four pillars of the economy.

Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games Jann Stuckey said more than 4,000 competitors were expected to converge on the Gold Coast from 13 to 25 June in 2015.

“This is a real coup for Queensland as 2015 will mark the first time in the event’s ten-year history that the Australian Open lawn bowls tournament has been hosted outside of Victoria,” Ms Stuckey said.

“The agreement will see the tournament expand from a five-day competition to a thirteen-day lawn bowls festival.

“It is also a great boost for the local tourism industry with competitor numbers expected to increase from around 1,700, to more than 4,000.

“The tournament will showcase the region utilising 22 bowls clubs across the Gold Coast.”

Ms Stuckey said that securing the tournament provided another great reason for people to visit the Gold Coast.

“Lawn bowls is a core sport of the Commonwealth Games.  Securing this event ahead of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games further demonstrates our ability to host high-calibre sporting events,” she said.

“The Queensland Government’s 20 year plan for tourism, Destination Success, recognises the importance of securing exclusive events which will generate repeat visitation to our world-class destinations and the Australian Open lawn bowls tournament will do just that.”

Bowls Australia CEO Neil Dalrymple said hosting this event on the Gold Coast was a key strategic initiative for Bowls in Australia which will see continued growth of the organisation’s flagship event.

“The Gold Coast presented a great opportunity to establish a national lawn bowls hub, boasting many high-quality greens, a fantastic climate for the Australian Open tournament and the chance to attract many bowlers from interstate and overseas in the lead up to the 2018 Commonwealth Games,” Mr Dalrymple said.

“We’re excited to bring this event to the Gold Coast with the 2015 event marking the first year of many initiatives which will see the event, and the sport as a whole, continue to grow over the coming years.”

Gold Coast Acting Mayor Donna Gates said securing the Australian Open was a testament to the Gold Coast’s world-class facilities adding to a growing calendar of events for the city.

“Securing the Australian Open forms part of the recently released Gold Coast Sport Plan 2013-2023 which outlined a key objective for the City of Gold Coast was to boost its sporting events portfolio and reputation,” said Ms Gates.

“From the Sports Super Centre in the north through to the Tallebudgera Active Recreation Centre in the south, the Gold Coast boasts world-class sporting facilities for bowls and we look forward to the first instalment of the Australian Open in 2015.

“It’s expected that competitors in the Australian Open lawn bowls tournament will stay on to have a bowl in our home-grown Gold Coast Tweed Winter Carnival, which is great news for the local industry, extending the tourism benefit for the region.”

• Established in 2005, the Australian Open is Bowls Australia’s flagship event.
• The Australian Open is the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest and most lucrative lawn bowls tournament, with currently AUD$140,000 in prize money on offer.
• The agreement to host the Australian Open on the Gold Coast from 2015-2019 is a partnership between Bowls Australia, Tourism and Events Queensland and Gold Coast City Council.
• The 2015 Australian Open will take place on the Gold Coast from 13-25 June.
• Lawn bowls is a widely-popular sport in Australia, with more than 900,000 people of all ages and backgrounds taking part in a form of bowls activity in an Bowls Australia affiliated club in 2013 (Source: Bowls Australia).
• Lawn Bowls is a core sport of the Commonwealth Games having been included in the sporting programme since the inaugural Games in 1930.