Lake Macquarie is set for a multi-million tourism boom thanks to the State’s biggest Surf Life Saving competition returning to the City for a fourth straight year.
From today, the competition gears up a notch as more than 2700 Nippers hit the beach.
In total, the 2020 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships will see more than 6000 surf lifesavers converge on Blacksmiths Beach to compete in more than 400 events.
Lake Macquarie Mayor Kay Fraser said that with family and friends in tow, and more than 600 volunteer officials also attending, the total number of visitors across the event’s three-week duration multiplied to about 15,000.
“Tourism research shows that is worth $7-$10 million in direct and flow-on revenue to the City and our region,” Cr Fraser said.
“We are very proud to host an event of this calibre, and excited about the benefits and recognition it delivers.”
This weekend is traditionally the busiest of the event, with juniors aged 8-13 battling it out in the Age Championships.
Sunday also sees the return of the Inclusive Championships, where athletes with disability are welcomed to compete in swim, board, sprint and flags events.
Surf Life Saving NSW CEO Steve Pearce said feedback following last year’s inaugural Inclusive Championships had been overwhelmingly positive.
“Many of these members have watched their friends or siblings for years from the sidelines, so to give them this opportunity to compete is a fantastic step forward,” Mr Pearce said.
“We’ve expanded the number of inclusive events in this year’s program, so we’re looking forward to seeing even more members participate.”
Lake Mac Holiday Parks in Swansea and Blacksmiths are booked solid across the Championship weekends.
Holiday Parks Coordinator Garry Ellem said many bookings were for surf club groups returning year after year.
“It’s great to welcome these groups back each year. A lot of them will explore other parts of Lake Macquarie during their stay, hopefully spreading the word about our City when they return home,” Mr Ellem said.
Other accommodation providers in the City’s south-east also reported strong bookings for the event’s duration.
Next Wednesday will see the Masters Championships get underway at Blacksmiths, with the Open Championships taking place 6-8 March.