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Just as the Indian cricketers have encouraged an invasion of supporters from the ‘Swami Army’, the Sunshine Coast is using sport as a hook to attract tourists in 2019.

Geva Mentor’s awarding of a CBE in the New Year’s honours put the spotlight on the Sunshine Coast Lightning’s unprecedented success in their first two seasons of the national netball championship, and it also showcased the Sunny Coast as a natural sporting haven.

This has been even further emphasised with a number of pre-Christmas announcements.

In AFL, the Western Bulldogs, Hawthorn and Melbourne announced their teams would return for their pre-season camps, and this year they will be joined by Carlton. Ultimately, we would like to see an AFL game played on the Coast, as we will see in the NRL this year when the South Sydney Rabbitohs play the New Zealand Warriors in April. This couldn’t have been better planned as the Sunshine Coast is already the ‘home away from home’ for so many Kiwis, and by seeing their league time playing at Sunshine Coast Stadium will be a massive advertisement for the upcoming peak tourism season, when Air New Zealand fly direct into the region.

Sunshine Coast has had a long history of individual sporting events, including surfing, triathlon and cycling, and the fact that we can now add major team sports undoubtedly contributed to us winning the 2019 ASICS Sports Medicine Conference, which will attract hundreds of sports professionals to the Coast in October.

And on a local level, we are growing our adventure/sports-related experiences such as the new Beez-Kneez black-diamond mountain bike trail in Caloundra Town Reserve, which received support from the Queensland Government and Sunshine Coast Council.

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