FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SPREADING THE GOLD COAST AIRPORT MARATHON TO THE WORLD
The 2008 Gold Coast Airport Marathon may be more than seven months away but
significant progress is currently being made to boost international numbers
into this Queensland and Australian major annual event.
With plans already underway to build on the 1,500 people that came out this
year from Japan, the event's number one international market, some vital
steps have been taken to increase numbers from other growing markets.
Gold Coast Airport Marathon Chairman Kerry Watson and General Manager
Cameron Hart this week returned from a seven day marketing blitz in Japan,
where they visited travel agencies, wholesalers and airline representatives
from the three major cities of Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka.
"With a doubling of numbers from Japan in the past three years, we are
showing that the event is a major driver to the Gold Coast's tourism
industry," said Mr Hart.
"It is now regarded as a vital element in the overall Gold Coast promotion
in Japan, rather than a single day sporting event. The travel industry in
Japan knows the Gold Coast Airport Marathon is a world class event in a
world class destination - and they want their clients to come here."
In China this Thursday to Saturday (22 to 24 November) the Gold Coast
Airport Marathon will be showcased at the Shanghai Marathon expo to be
attended by an anticipated 20,000 experience-seeking runners.
The exclusive Gold Coast Airport Marathon expo booth will feature marketing
materials in traditional Chinese language and be hosted by local Tourism
Queensland (Shanghai office) staff.
This first-time marketing foray into China by the Gold Coast Airport
Marathon organisers will continue Tourism Queensland's drive into this
Mr Hart said the campaign was aimed at the active Chinese running community
looking abroad for 'running holidays'.
"China presents a significant opportunity for the Gold Coast Airport
Marathon to increase its international numbers," said Mr Hart.
"We have only ever attracted a handful of participants from China in recent
years. However with increased marketing from Tourism Queensland, Tourism
Australia and Gold Coast Tourism and with more flights from China into
Queensland, this is a great opportunity for us.
"Having convenient flights from China into both Gold Coast Airport and
Brisbane is the key ingredient, and with flights increasing, our
"The Gold Coast Airport Marathon is sure to be attractive to the Chinese
market with the clean air, great climate and ample destinational leisure
Another country set to provide increased numbers to the 2008 Gold Coast
Airport Marathon is New Zealand.
This year 400 Kiwis took part in the Gold Coast Airport Marathon with
organisers aiming to increase this number after a successful promotional
campaign at the recent Auckland Marathon.
A three day Gold Coast Airport Marathon expo booth was well attended by
enthusiastic New Zealand runners and walkers, many of whom were attracted
by a new competition to win a trip for two to the 2008 Gold Coast Airport
"We had close to 1000 Auckland Marathon runners enter this competition
which shows the interest in our event," said Mr Hart.
"An encouraging factor is that 86 percent of these haven't run our event
before and 34 percent have never been to the Gold Coast before.
"The competition was all about promoting the 'fly direct to Gold Coast
Airport' message which should also attract more numbers to our event next
By the time of the Gold Coast Airport Marathon next year, there will be
eight weekly flights from Auckland, five from Christchurch, two from
Wellington and two from Hamilton, direct into Gold Coast Airport.
For the record 33-year-old Auckland podiatrist Alexandra Sanders was the
winner of the competition and will make her marathon debut on her first
trip to the Gold Coast on Sunday 6 July 2008.
While Japan, China and New Zealand have been on the international radar for
the Gold Coast Airport Marathon in recent months, the Blackmores Sydney
Marathon and Samsung Melbourne Marathon have been on the domestic radar.
Gold Coast Airport Marathon staff hosted an expo booth at both events and
received thousands of positive enquiries from southerners keen to
experience the annual Queensland winter event.
Mr Hart said the Gold Coast Airport Marathon was one of the leading sport's
tourism events in Australia.
"The Gold Coast Airport Marathon attracts more than 65 percent of its field
from outside of the Gold Coast, which shows how important promoting at
other events and marketing interstate and overseas is.
"The success the event has achieved in bringing numbers into the Gold Coast
is through the co-operative marketing campaigns by Gold Coast Tourism,
Tourism Queensland and Tourism Australia, as well as our major sponsor Gold
Next on the radar is the USA with plans underway to attract more than 100
runners from the West Coast where four preferred travel agents have been
appointed for the first time.
The Gold Coast Airport Marathon will celebrate its 30th year in 2008 on
Sunday 6 July.