TOURISM leaders are predicting the city will take an “unprecedented” tourism leap when it hosts back-to-back sporting events this weekend expected to generate $60,000 of economic activity every hour.
The Wagga Gold Cup and the City-Country rugby league clash, forecast to draw an astonishing 16,000 people over three days, will erupt to create the perfect sporting storm.
Modelling requested by the Advertiser suggest the combined flow-on effects for the wider economy will top more than $4.3 million.
“You’ve essentially got eight days of an unprecedented level of activity,” council’s director of commercial and economic development Peter Adams said.
“It is certainly a first.”
The figures show total visitor spend generated by the City-Country game on Sunday will top $1.2 million.
A similar amount will be produced by the Gold Cup just days earlier.
The vast majority of rooms in the city have already sold out.
The Lawson Motor Inn owner Geoff Kidd said there was “no doubt” the bumper weekend was the biggest tourism drawcard in years.
Mr Kidd - the former head of the Wagga tourism advisory board - started to take bookings last year.
“Whoever is responsible for these events needs to be congratulated,” he said.
“This is massive for the city. The big issue is that every $1 brought in is worth about $4, which is invaluable for local business.
“Events like this really keep the city alive.”
Dr Adams said the sporting competitions have bolstered council’s resolve to boost visitation rates through major events.
He said the lesson for continued growth was to “have a spread” of events throughout the year for repeated reach into new markets.
“They’ve not only become a very important part of our economy - but essential for economies everywhere,” he said.
Wagga Business Chamber manager Michelle Bray expected a boost in social wellbeing as a result of the events.
“The benefits are direct employment particularly in the hospitality industry which has flow on effects for other businesses, unemployment decreases and the general standard of living improves,” she said.
Murrumbidgee Turf Club chief Scott Sanbrook predicts the majority of punters for the Gold Cup carnival will hail from NSW and major Australian cities, but said previous events indicated visitors can be drawn from as far as Queensland.
“It’s just remarkable,” he said.