Five more years on the Gold Coast for the Australian Open

by Domenic Favata

Queensland will play host to the world’s largest open lawn bowls event for the next five years with Bowls Australia’s Australian Open tournament secured for the Gold Coast as part of the Commonwealth Games legacy.

Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said with this year’s Australian Open currently taking place until 14 June, the Queensland Government via Tourism and Events Queensland had secured the event to stay on the Gold Coast from 2020 – 2024.

“The Australian Open is the largest open lawn bowls event in the world, attracting thousands of competitors and visitors from across the globe to take part in the prestigious sporting competition,” Ms Jones said.

“Securing this event for the next five years is a great achievement for Queensland as it supports local jobs, generates millions for the local economy and raises the profile of our state as an events destination.

“The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games showed the world that Queensland is a world-class events host and many events are vying for a position on our state’s blockbuster event’s calendar, worth $800 million to the economy.

“This event was secured as part of the legacy of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games and will centre around Broadbeach Bowls Club, one of the venues that was upgraded ahead of the Games.

“A record number of competitors are currently on the Gold Coast for this year’s instalment with over 2,600 entrants from across Australia and the world competing, over 300 of those participants from overseas.

“This year’s competition is taking place across the city, at a total of 13 venues, once again shining the spotlight on the Gold Coast for two weeks of competition and spectacular winter weather.”

Bowls Australia CEO Neil Dalrymple said the transition of the Australian Open to the Gold Coast in 2015 has been seen as a significant pillar in the development of this marquee-calibre event and the positioning of South East Queensland as the natural hub of bowls in Australia.

“The Australian Open has established itself as the world’s premier open bowls event, catering for nationals and internationals of all ages and abilities through the 14 disciplines contested, and is the sport’s most lucrative open competition, distributing more than $1.2 million in prize money during its five years on the Gold Coast,” Mr Dalrymple said.

“We are delighted to see this event remain on the Gold Coast for a further five years and hope to see more and more people experience this wonderful destination and the hospitality of our host venues as the event continues to grow.

“On behalf of Bowls Australia and the thousands of bowlers who experience the Australian Open each year, I wish to convey our thanks to the event’s Principal Partners, Tourism and Events Queensland and City of Gold Coast, for their ongoing support of this beloved competition.”

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate said securing lawn bowls’ pre-eminent event was testament to the Gold Coast’s resounding appeal to hold major sporting events, such as the Australian Open.

“This event will capitalise on the legacy of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, utilising our world-class sporting facilities and in particular the upgraded Broadbeach Bowls Club,” Cr Tate said.

“Bowls is already hugely popular in this city and it’s events like this that are helping to give the city international recognition as both a vibrant events capital and a sporting destination.”

The 2019 Australian Open, the world’s biggest bowls festival, is currently taking place on the Gold Coast from 1 – 14 June 2019 with over $250,000 in prize money up for grabs.