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Editions

Local regatta has promise

02 Oct 2014

Local regatta has promise Image

The annual Docklands regatta has the potential to become a major economic asset for the area, according to the event’s organisers.

Held for the second time in August, organisers say there are plans to make the regatta a major event on Melbourne’s calendar.

Organised by the Melbourne Passenger Boat Association and the Mission to Seafarers Victoria, the recent regatta has already grown in size since the first event in 2012.

Melbourne Passenger Boat Association President Jeff Gordon said the long-term aim was to make the regatta an economically beneficial event.

“We want it to be a food, music and entertainment event and we think it will have economic benefits for the people in Docklands,” Mr Gordon said.

The estimated cost of staging the regatta this year was around $25,000, while attendance was around the 5000 people mark, equating to a cost per head of $5.

Mr Gordon likened the potential of the event to the Australian Wooden Boat Festival, which started in Hobart in 1994 with 180 registered boats and an attendance of 12,000.

Over the last 20 years the festival has grown exponentially and has become a major tourism asset for Tasmania.

The 2013 Australian Wooden Boat Festival featured 550 registered boats and attracted 200,000 people.

According to data provided by the Australian Wooden Boat Festival, attendees at the 2013 event spent around $31.3 million in Hobart alone and interstate and international visitors spent a combined $80.2 million in Tasmania.

The festival organisers put the continued success of the festival to free-admission, Tasmania’s maritime heritage and the dedication of the board.

“It’s (the wooden boat festival) now become one of the biggest, if not the biggest, wooden boat regatta in the world,” Mr Gordon said.

According to Mr Gordon, the Docklands regatta has the same potential.

“Anywhere you combine water, with boats, sound, music and food it’s a ‘laydown misere’ really good event, and people will come.”

“We have what we think is the kernel of a fabulous event for Docklands that will become a major event and drawcard for Docklands,” he said.

Docklands Chamber of Commerce President Joh Maxwell said the chamber would continue to support the regatta.

“Docklands Chamber of Commerce were sponsors of the regatta this year and are very keen to work with the organisers to continue to deliver the event to Docklands on an annual basis and to grow it each year for visitors and residents,” she said.

“The traders we spoke to provided positive feedback on both visitation and atmosphere after this year’s regatta.

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