For the field and the fans the Pacific Bay Resort Australian Ladies Classic – Bonville is about golf, but for the NSW government, it’s about something much bigger.
Deputy Premier and leader of the Nationals John Barilaro was on site at the resort near Coffs Harbour today to check on preparations for the tournament which gets underway tomorrow.
After a meet and greet with some of the players Barilaro took time out to chat with local press about the importance of the tournament in the broader strategic drive to make NSW an internationally known tourist destination.
“There are some 144 players in the field this week, and 110 of them are from overseas,” he said.
“That’s the beauty of a place like Coffs Harbour and Bonville. You can attract some of the best when you put on a great tournament.
“You can attract a field like this, and that’s why the government is behind this tournament, and backing it all the way.”
He said the value of hosting a 72-hole golf tournament in regional NSW was greater than just the local impact.
“When you have an international event you get to beam that all over the world,” he said.
“And people might be watching the golf, but at the same time they get to see Coffs Harbour, and they get to see regional NSW.
“And what does that mean? It means it drives tourism, it creates jobs, it means the hotels are full, the cafes are full, the pubs are getting a bit of money coming through the doors.John Barilaro, Deputy Premier.
“We want to drive tourism, and the best way to showcase tourism is to put on a bunch of different events and sport is at the heart of that.”
While television plays a vital role in showcasing the region and the state to the international community, he said so, too, did the players themselves.
With the reach of social media in the digital age, the impact of hosting more than 100 golfers from all corners of the globe bring its own value.
“These guys have got a lot of following and are supported across the globe,” he said of the 31 nationalities represented at Bonville.
“If they get that message out about how fantastic not only Bonville is but Coffs Harbour, NSW and Australia is that is fantastic.
“And I got that message this morning talking to them.”
The Pacific Bay Resort Australian Ladies Classic – Bonville tees off at the internationally renowned Bonville International Golf Resort tomorrow.