The benefits of the revitalised Arafura Games are startingto be realised with only two weeks until the international multi-sport eventbegins.
With more than 1500 athletes from 40 countries set todescend on Darwin, the advantages are already paying off for city businesses.
April is traditionally a quieter month for tourism operatorsas it sits in the shoulder season. Its a month that also experiencessignificant outbound travel as a result of the school holidays and severalpublic holidays.
But accommodation providers are reporting healthy bookingsincluding the Hilton Darwin which is experiencing significant sales compared toprevious years.
One Darwin accommodation provider has benefitted from abooking of almost $50,000 from a single team. Restaurants, tour companies and retailersare also expected to enjoy a financial windfall from the Games.
Its not only businesses that are reaping the advantages of the Gamesbut sports too.
The 5-day squash competition was a late inclusion in the sportingschedule but has proven very popular.
Squash organisers had an inflatable court in the SmithStreet Mall today to showcase their sport which will host the biggest doublessquash tournament in Australia outside the recent Commonwealth Games. Fifteenmens teams, eleven mixed and 6 womens teams are set to take to the courtduring the Games.
Doubles players can use the Games competition to build uppoints for the Australian Squash Tour while singles competitors can earn pointsthat count towards world rankings.
Sports taking part in the Arafura Games include Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Basketball 3X3 ProHustle, Beach Volleyball, Boxing, Football, Indoor Volleyball, Muaythai,Netball, Sailing, Sepak Takraw, Squash, Swimming, Table Tennis, Tennis andWeightlifting.
The Arafura Games will be heldfrom 26 April to 4 May.
QUOTES FROM MINISTERFOR ARAFURA GAMES, NATASHA FYLES
The Territory Government is bringing back the much-lovedArafura Games and all the benefits an international multi-sports and businessengagement program bring.
The Games will build the sporting profile of our athletes,be a significant tourism attraction, provide local businesses with a cashinjection and will strengthen trade relationships that will create jobs.
The Games are a win-win and I encourage everyone to getalong to check out the competition.
QUOTES FROM HILTONDARWIN GENERAL MANAGER MARKUS KALISS
Hilton Darwin is seeing a significant upswing in businessfor April compared to previous years.
The Arafura Games is helping to bring in international andinterstate visitors and comes at a time when its most needed during theshoulder season.
The destination seems more buoyant. The Arafura Games iscertainly boosting the tourism sector and the local economy.
QUOTES FROM SQUASHCOORDINATOR, CAROL KAWALJENKO
Were very excited to be hosting players from Australia, Indonesia,Malaysia, Malta and New Caledonia.
The level of competition that local players will be exposedto will strengthen squash in the NT and help develop our sport further.