LETTER: 600 competitors, 12,000 campers, millions of Chinese

Sir – This weekend’s Tatts Finke Desert Race has developed a reputation for being the toughest off road race in the country which once again has attracted thousands of interstate visitors to the region. This year we have 650 competitors and are expecting 12,000 people to camp out along the track.

 

With more than $5 million set to be injected into the local economy over the week, the Finke plays an important role in the development of Central Australia.

 

It’s also an opportunity to promote tourism in the region and this year I am pleased to see the Chinese Guangdong Wolf Pack Motor Club competitors and supporters return to the race.

 

The club has 30,000 members and is based in China’s most-populous province just north of Hong Kong with an estimated 110 million people.

 

A media crew will follow the team while they are in Central Australia and will provide coverage of the Finke and the region to CCTV5, the sports channel of China’s national broadcaster. Coverage of the race will also feature in the Guangdong Province newspaper, which has a circulation of 1.83 million, and see daily tweets to Sina Web that has 500 million registered users.

 

This is terrific exposure for tourism in Central Australia to the important Chinese market.

 

The Northern Territory Government provides support to the race each year through the facilitating of spectator safety awareness, providing NT Fleet vehicles, computer equipment for race timing, implementing start/finish line venue maintenance, event media management and promotion of the event and the NT both nationally and internationally.

 

The Finke is run successfully by a passionate local committee and assisted by over 300 volunteers and I thank them for all their hard work. I wish all competitors the best of luck this weekend and urge all visitors and campers to be safe, watch out for your mates, dispose your rubbish appropriately but most of all have fun and enjoy this terrific sporting event.

 

The Finke Desert Race takes place this Queen’s Birthday Weekend, with the prologue taking place on Saturday at the Start/Finish line and racing on Sunday and Monday.

 

Matt Conlan (pictured)

Minister for Major Events

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