$14 million boost to Cairns economy from Amateurs carnival
AS trainers take their horses around the track for one last session ahead of the Cairns Amateurs Carnival, local businesses are anticipating a handy windfall from the biggest event on the Cairns racing calendar.

The four-day carnival features a bevy of
events culminating in two massive race meets tomorrow and Saturday.

“Cairns Amateurs is a valuable event that boosts the city’s
coffers by about $14 million each year,” said Cairns Amateurs chief executive
Graham Thornton.
Mr Thornton credits the event’s
long history and connections to business for making it an internationally known
horse meet.
“This is a business oriented
event and thanks to ongoing corporate support we’re able to throw one of the
biggest parties in Cairns,” he said.
“But that doesn’t take into account the wider impact the carnival
has on the local economy. “I bet you won’t be able to book a table in a
restaurant on Friday or Saturday night, babysitters need to be hired, taxis
will be busy.
“The economic impact the
Amateurs generates is huge.”

This year’s event is shaping up to be one of
the biggest with all seats in marquees sold out and only general admission
tickets available to the general public.

 Almost 18,000 hotel rooms were booked during
last year’s Amateurs Carnival. Businesses impacted by the money generated during Amateurs start
preparing early for the big weekend and are excited for the business it will
generate.
“Bookings have been very strong
for us over the weekend,” said Pullman Reef Hotel general manager Wayne
Reynolds.
“We only have a couple of rooms
left.”
The hotel also hosts a lunch
today and cocktail party this evening which are intended to complement carnival
events.

At popular night spot and hotel, Gilligan’s,
management does not plan specific Amateurs after-parties but does ensure a
higher calibre of entertainment – this Saturday the nightclub will have two
Ministry of Sound DJs playing.
“It’s a pretty good weekend for us,” said the venue’s
entertainment and marketing manager Zac Ross.
“We benefit from it in accommodation with increased bookings in
the hotel.
“We put on an act and make sure
we provide quality entertainment.”

Economist Bill Cummings agrees the increased
number of side events held during the carnival helps the economy.

“A lot of that expenditure comes from a whole lot of events away
from the races,” he said.
“A lot of corporate activity
goes on, it’s used by the corporate community to bring people to Cairns.

“That has additional benefits, one of the thing is the fair bit of
expenditure outside of the races, like buying dresses, going to the
hairdressers.”

While the carnival is a major social event for
the region, Mr Cummings said it was also the most important financially.

“It’s a major event on the calendar in regards to the amount of
expenditure generated,” he said.
“Over four days it generates substantial expenditure in the economy