IT'S less than five months until the Gold Coast makes its final bid submission to the Commonwealth Games Federation and less than 10 months until the 2018 host is announced. Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games CEO Mark Peters, explains why hosting the Games is more than just an opportunity to become the international sporting hub of Australia – it’s about the triple bottom line.

A feasibility study by the Queensland Government indicates the economic benefits of the 2018 Commonwealth Games could be upwards of $1.9 billion, with the potential of creating up to 30,000 full time jobs.

Overall, business will benefit from enhanced economic opportunities and there will be improvements to the city’s transport infrastructure which again, will provide benefits to the local economy. A number of our key industries such as hospitality, tourism and retail will receive a boost through visitor spending.

The study revealed spending by athletes and officials on pre-Games training camps could alone inject up to $3.26 million into the economy. Coupled with the fact that travellers and participants to an event such as the Commonwealth Games spend around 25 per cent more than the average tourist and you are looking at a considerable financial impact.

Encouraging diversity and participation in the community will be a key social focus. During the bid process, our youth have the opportunity to gain knowledge and communication skills through the Adopt a Commonwealth Country program. The program means children and their families will actively become part of the bid with further education programs for youth developed if Gold Coast City wins and hosts the Commonwealth Games in 2018. There will be increased investment in school sports, clubs, coaches and equipment to encourage the community to become active. Additional sporting venues will be available to local people and athletes beyond 2018.

The appointment of a business community consultative committee is indicative of our desire to engage the community at large and ensure the social legacy and opportunities the event offers are maximised. Local real estate identity Andrew Bell chairs the committee that is actively developing networks and sourcing opportunities to allow greater penetration of bid processes and outcomes throughout a diverse range of industries. This is part of the legacy, ensuring that business and community understand how they can benefit from the Games being held on their doorstep.

In terms of the environment, our focus will be on setting a framework for sustainable practices. This means lowering and offsetting carbon emissions, improving green spaces, improving waste management and investing in green technology.

There is less than 10 months until the host of the 2018 Games is announced on November 11 and we have a number of key milestones to reach before then. The most significant of these is the submission of our Bid Book to the Commonwealth Games Federation on May 11.

The Bid Book is a 50,000 word document that outlines exactly how Gold Coast City will host the Games. It covers every element of the event including: legacy, transport, venues, sports, accommodation, finance, media, environment, economic climate, security, immigration and technology.

Another key milestone occurs between June and October when we welcome the Commonwealth Games executives and the 72 Commonwealth Games Association delegates to Gold Coast City. Their visits are a crucial component of the bid process as it gives us the opportunity to demonstrate, first hand, what Gold Coast City has to offer and how the Games will positively affect the city and the community. Our bid competitor, Hambantota in Sri Lanka, have little to show with proposed new construction of the entire Games infrastructure, so we will use these visits to show we are experienced and essentially event ready.

Delegates will tour sporting precincts and venues and assess facilities such as accommodation, transport and security. It is their final chance to ask questions and decide which city is best placed to hold a successful Games.

More than just a sporting event; the Games will provide a life changing experience for individuals and the city. The Gold Coast, as the first regional Australian city to host an event of this magnitude, will be showcased at its very best to thousands of visitors and millions of television viewers.

Our Games will set the benchmark for others to follow and reinforce not only our city’s reputation but that of the Commonwealth Games brand. A legacy will be created that will benefit the community long after the event is over. The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games will deliver lasting infrastructure, lasting economic benefits, lasting social benefits and lasting environmental benefits.

There is no doubt that winning the right to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games will give Gold Coast City the opportunity to further develop existing sporting infrastructure, build new facilities and cement itself as an iconic international sporting destination. But our bid is really about the legacy the Games will leave and how this major sporting event will benefit our triple bottom line – the economy, social behaviours and the environment.

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