‘We need events that will get us exposure around the world’: Jan McCormick on Gold Coast events
The newly established association Major Events Gold Coast (MEGC) has tapped Jan McCormick as its inaugural CEO to develop and deliver major events on the Gold Coast.
Currently CEO of Broadbeach Alliance, McCormick starts in mid-November.
The Coast’s events market is valued at $179 million with the Gold Coast Council intending to build it up to $400 million.
“There were two reasons for setting up this organisation,” McCormick tells TMN. “One is to increase visitors’ nights to the Gold Coast from interstate, overseas and regional areas.
“The second is to set up the reputation of the old Coast as one of the major event destinations in Australia.
“We need events that will get us exposure around the world to say, this is a city that’s on the move it’s young and vibrant and ready to go.”
When announcing McCormick’s appointment, MEGC chair Darryl Kelly said; “She has shown that she has what it takes to develop and grow major events, and particularly impressed the MEGC board with her vision for the future growth of events across the whole of the city.
“I am particularly pleased to appoint a local with a strong understanding of the needs of Gold Coast businesses and residents and what is needed to drive the future growth of the city as an event destination.”
McCormick enjoys a reputation as a person who with her team developed some huge events from the ground-up.
Broadbeach Alliance was set up by traders and local government to draw tourists during the quieter months.
Since establishing in 2002, the free Blues On Broadbeach has grown, now attracting 202,000 over four days in May, “with a village ambience that’s like nothing else you’ve experienced.”
Its younger country music sibling, the nine-year-old Groundwater in July, now draws 78,000 over three days.
68% of their audiences are from outside the region, and together inject $48 million a year into the local economy.
The MEGC will work with Surfers Paradise Alliance, Broadbeach Alliance and Connecting Southern Gold Coast on events, as well as Tourism Queensland, after its success in attracting major concerts and boxing bouts to Brisbane.
“The attraction about the Gold Coast”, McCormick lists off, “is we have an amazing climate. We have an easy-going lifestyle, and we have a council that is really committed to making it easy to hold events in this city.
“We have a great transport network. There’s the train from Brisbane and two airports an hour’s drive from the city. Plus we have a plethora of accommodation.
“From a festival point of view, you’re not in a paddock. You’re in the city or on the beach.”
The current major music events will come under MEGC. The eight-year-old Cooly Rocks On in beachside Coolangatta will be turned into a rockabilly event from a heritage one.
Figures released in August by assistant tourism industry development minister found Cooly hit a record 120,000 this year. Visitor nights were up by 16% to 24,219 while visitor spend grew 15% to an extra$6.92 million to the local economy.
McCormick identifies some places where the events industry could grow.
“Personally I’d like to see some significant high adrenalin sporting events which come back every year because we have the legacy items from the Commonwealth Games.
“A skateboard festival competition, for instance, would be wonderful because that would bring in families.
“It’s not just young kids on skateboards, dad’s on them too. This city offers a lot more than just the beach, especially for young families. We want to attract that young demographic back into the city.”