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The swell of surfing tourism

Northern Star

SURFING has emerged as an X-factor in the Tweed Shire's economy, after the Gold Coast estimated the sport injected billions of dollars into the city each year.

A recent Surf Industry Development Report, which was a world first, found $2 billion in activity was attributable to the surfing industry on the Gold Coast, making it the city's third biggest industry.

The report estimated the sport generated up to a further $3 billion in output and created 21,760 employment positions paying $1 billion per annum in wages and salaries.

Being a direct neighbour to the northern economic powerhouse and with swell-magnets comparable to many of the northern breaks, the Tweed would also benefit heavily from wave-seekers.

Tweed Mayor Warren Polglase said it was obvious surfing brought large amounts of cash to the shire, but said he had no idea how much.

“I wouldn't have a clue what it brings here, it is something we have never investigated,” Cr Polglase said yesterday.

He said the Council wasn't in a position to do the appropriate studies to gauge the impact of surfing on Tweed's economy.

Cr Polglase said surfing was a good, healthy industry where people of any age could get out, be active and enjoy the outdoors.

He said surfing added dollars to the pockets of traders every weekend and he would like to see facilities improved.

“We would like to improve conditions for people by installing more showers and providing better parking, for example,” Mr Polglase said.

Tweed Tourism general manager Phil Villiers said Tourism New South Wales was in the process of building up the surf tourism industry.

“Obviously the surf industry on the Tweed plays a very important part in the economy of the region, with the public day market travelling to destinations like Duranbah, Kingscliff and Cabarita,” Mr Villiers said.

“The Tweed Coast is not as big as the southern Gold Coast, where you sometimes get a lot of people. All down the Tweed Coast you can find back beaches where you can escape those crowds.”

He said Quiksilver Pro and Roxy Pro surfing competitions use Duranbah as a venue and the Malfunction Surf Festival recently moved to Kingscliff.

Tweed Economic Development Corporation Chief Executive Officer Tom Senti said tourism accounted for 5.87 per cent of the Tweed's economy and he would include surfing in that number.

Jim Wilson, General Manger of Connecting Southern Gold Coast said the report showed the southern Gold Coast's economy relied heavily on its pristine beaches.

“That is why we all must respect and not tamper with what nature has created. We need our region to continue to offer up waves of excellence and consistency, as this is what the surfing industry and other businesses depend on to underpin the true surfing experience on the Gold Coast,” Mr Wilson said.



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