The Gold Coast will host Australia’s university games four times in the next five years – a move expected to attract thousands of visitors and inject millions of dollars into Queensland’s economy.
The Nationals Division 1 and Division 2 – a revised format of the Australian University Games – will draw university students to Queensland twice a year for two divisional competitions and more elite-sport action than ever before.
The Nationals will launch in July with a seven-day National Division 2 competition, followed by a seven-day National Division 1 competition in September.
Tourism and Major Events Minister Kate Jones said the new format would attract thousands of competitors and visitors to the Gold Coast and drive tourism for the region.
“In previous years, the Australian University Games has attracted more than 10,000 people to the Gold Coast and has helped to support retailers, bars, hospitality, restaurants, cafes and tourism by injecting more than $11.6 million into the economy,” Ms Jones said.
“The Gold Coast is the perfect backdrop for this event, which markets the region not only as a place to enjoy the incredible beaches and scenery, but a place to study, work, do business and live.
“Since its inception in 1993, the Games has grown to be Australia’s largest annual multi-sport event and I expect this new format will continue to grow the competition and attract thousands of competitors, visitors and volunteers to Queensland.
“The Nationals will continue to add vibrancy to the Gold Coast and ensure Queensland continues to be the home of the best sporting events in the country.”
Australian University Sport Chief Executive Officer Don Knapp said the Nationals will align the dual career education and sport pathway with the elite student-athlete networks offered at Australian University Sport’s 42-member universities.
“Over the past several years, we have seen tremendous growth in elite student-athlete programs on Australian university campuses,” Mr Knapp said.
“The new Nationals format is designed to allow Australia’s elite student-athletes to represent their university in a high profile and quality competition.”
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate welcomed the announcement.
“Having very recently been named a World Festival and Event City by the International Festival and Events Association, the Gold Coast has a formidable reputation as an events destination and the securing of events such as Australia’s flagship event for University sport only confirms this,” Mr Tate said.
The State Government, through Tourism and Events Queensland, has put in place the It’s Live! in Queensland calendar – showcasing events like the Nationals – now worth $600 million to the Queensland economy.
The National University Championships will be held on the Gold Coast in 2018 and 2019, before moving to another city in 2020 and then returning to the Gold Coast for another two years.