Logan’s plan to woo the tourist dollar

LOGAN has unveiled a plan to woo the tourist dollar by concentrating on its strengths – sport, culture and the river. 

Events company Sports Management Australia has secured the city an initial six events it says will inject $5.5 million into the local economy over five years. Two that will be held before the year’s end have been identified. They are: 

  • a Queensland qualifier for the 2018 Australian Skateboarding League at Waller Park, Browns Plains in November.
  • Champions League 3x3 Basketball landing at Beenleigh Town Square at the end of the month. CBL3x3 is played with teams of three players and one substitute on a half court with one basket. It had its start on the streets in the 1980s and debuted at the Athens Olympics in 2012.

SMA works for 54 Australian local authorities developing sports and events designed to boost visitor numbers. To date it has created $3.3 billion in investment to the local economies that engage it and created 12.6 million bed nights.

Chief executive Rick Sleeman said the company had been working with Logan for just nine months. Phase one produced a capacity and capability plan, which though still in draft form had, without too much trouble, secured six events with four more waiting for council approval, bringing the projected injection of cash to Logan to $8.8 million.

“Tourism Research Australia will tell you the average sports tourist spends $283 per person per day,” he said.

“That’s big business if you get an event that has two, three, four or 500 competitors or two, three, four, 5000 competitors here for two, three, four, five days. If you can get an event like that for each weekend, you have a whole new pillar beneath your economy.”

Mr Sleeman was guest speaker at the launch of the Logan Destination Management Plan at Beenleigh Artisan Distillery on Wednesday, October 10. It brought together tourism and events players from all over southeast Queensland.

Acting mayor Cherie Dalley said Logan was not a traditional leisure destination but new big data research revealed the city attracted about a million visitors a year, many from overseas who came to visit friends and family. Logan’s diverse population has residents who hail from more than 200 nations.

She said in 2017, Logan staged 637 events, a third attracting day trip and overnight stays that injected $24 million into the local economy. “And that’s without us even trying to leverage the opportunities this sector can bring,” she said.

Cr Dalley said the plan would focus on the city’s strengths – sport and culture – and commit to opportunities that highlighted unique attractions, facilities and natural assets, encouraging visitors stay longer.

Planning and economic development chair Cr Russell Lutton said Logan’s vision for a visitor economy hinged on four game-changing projects that would be catalysts for tourist growth.

These included securing more short-term accommodation, a destination holiday park, an international quality riverine discovery centre that would celebrate 184km of the Logan River and a man-made white water park that would attract adventure tourists, schools and corporate visitors and become a centre for tourism and rescue service training.

Cr Lutton said underpining those four projects were 27 actions that would develop attraction, experience and food tourism.

These included:

  • the appointment of consultants to investigate the feasibility of a multi-purpose stadium and the development of a whole of city events strategy
  • a pilot project to develop and increase benefits for mountain biking  in the Underwood Park and Daisy Hill area through the use of an online platform CycleLife HQ
  • identifying commercial activation opportunities along the Logan river
  • securing a spot for Logan’s Global Village food markets in a new SBS TV series helmed by a British chef

“What we don’t want to do is duplicate what’s done in surrounding council areas,” said Cr Lutton.

“We want to be a point of difference, to leverage our strengths and tell our own story, your story.”

The plan will be implemented by two groups. Cr Lutton heads the Tourism Working Group, which is made up of councillors and representatives from all branches of the council.

The Tourism Advisory Group is made up of industry experts: Great Australian Experiences director Mike Tamaki,  Access Community Services’ Evan Alexander; Beenleigh Artisan Distillery’s Adam Fagg, Extraction Artisan Coffee’s Heather Scott, Galaxy Caravan Park’s; Jermia Turner; Logan Country Chamber and Devon Pixies Tea House’s Arwen McGregor; Beenleigh Yatala Chamber of Commerce’s Karen Murphy, Kingston Park Raceway’s Terry Skene, Invest Logan’s Todd Rohl, Logan Chamber of Commerce’s Natasha Hobson and Chung Tian Temple marketing director Ralph Smith.

“We can’t do this on our own,” Cr Lutton said.

“We would like to work with the community and industry to further develop new opportunities or enhance existing experiences. If you have ideas, we want you to come and talk to our tourism team.”