Bunbury Turf Club general manager Paul Rossiter says next year’s expanded South West Autumn Racing Carnival is a “vital” advance for the cash-strapped sport.
Last week, the club announced a major concert and triathlon would be added to the two-week celebrations in March which already include major listed features in the $50,000 AHA Cup, $100,000 Bunbury Stakes and $110,000 Bunbury Cup.
As part of the bolstered carnival, alternative rockers The Cat Empire will hit the stage in Bunbury on Saturday, March 9 in what Rossiter hopes will be a shot-in-the-arm to race round tourism.
“We have a fantastic week of horse racing, which is vital to us, but this new and added events during the week will give people more reason to stay here,” he said.
“We already have showcase provincial racing, now we want to showcase the area and what we have down here.”
The new additions are part of a $40 million Royalties for Regions cash splash on major country racing carnivals in Bunbury, Kalgoorlie and Broome.
The South West Autumn Racing Carnival is already established on the region’s entertainment calendar, attracting close to 12,000 fans over three dates in 2012, including about 7500 for the Bunbury Cup.
But the sport’s governing body, Racing and Wagering WA is keen to reach a new demographic of tourists.
RWWA corporate communications manager Pippa McIntosh said next year’s event would be pitched at people around the State.
“This is for the people of Bunbury to bring their friends and family to showcase their town," she said.
“Potentially, we can introduce new people, who have not engaged in provincial horse racing before, to come and experience what a wonderful entertaining event the Country Cups offer across the State.”
Eventscorp Executive Director Gwyn Dolphin said the new events could be a drawcard for Bunbury.
“The funding will be used to attract more visitors from across the State and the country to the carnival through a national marketing campaign and an enhanced program of events held in conjunction with the carnival such as on-course entertainment,” he said.“Regional events are important because they attract visitors to regional WA, raise the profile of the destination through media exposure and add vibrancy to regional communities.”