THIS year is already shaping up to be a blockbuster for events in Queensland, with the number of supported major events more than doubling to 39 in just two years.
Unprecedented expansion in the state's major event calendar has resulted in an impressive mix of world class art and cultural offerings alongside national and international sporting events.
Acting Premier Andrew Fraser said Queensland was fast developing a reputation for first-rate, quality events and even more impressive attendance figures.
"Just look at what the Brisbane International is currently achieving - a year ago the Queensland Tennis Centre was under water, now the tournament is back bigger and better with crowd records being smashed."
The State Government has doubled the major events budget - with an extra $83 million being invested over four years bringing the total Events Queensland budget to $174 million over that same period.
"Exhibitions like the highly anticipated Mummy: Secrets of the Tomb and the works of one of the 20th Century's most renowned artists' Henri Matisse would not be possible without Queensland's world class venues and our growing appetite for art and cultural offerings," Mr Fraser said.
"Events have a proven track record in driving up visitation to the state and delivering a strong return on investment of taxpayers dollars.
"Events supported by Events Queensland have delivered a $10 return for every $1 invested and enticed more than 505,000 interstate and overseas visitors to the State each year.
"They play a vital role in supporting the state's $9 billion dollar tourism industry and the 222,000 jobs and 115,000 businesses that are a part of it.
"This is an event-led recovery that will help provide a buffer from major shocks like last year's summer of natural disasters and the GFC."
Events Queensland CEO John O'Sullivan said the 2012 event calendar was diverse and dynamic.
"The increased investment has enabled us to build significant momentum and 2012 is shaping up to be a great year of art, cultural, sporting, business and regional events.
"This momentum, combined with the successful Commonwealth Games bid for the Gold Coast, means Queensland has well and truly cemented its reputation as a first-class events destination," Mr O'Sullivan said.
Some highlights of the 2012 event calendar include:
- Mummy: Secrets of the Tomb exhibition in Brisbane
- The first of three-years of the AFL draft on the Gold Coast
- A 10-year deal with the ARU for more Bledisloe Cup games and for the very first time the Qantas Wallabies will play on the Gold Coast in a clash with Argentina.
- U19 Cricket World Cup in Brisbane, Sunshine Coast and Townsville
- The first Australian exhibition of Prado Museum works in Brisbane
- Opera Australia Tour in Brisbane
- Queensland International Performance Series begins (the series includes exclusives of Hamburg Opera and Ballet) in Brisbane
These new events also join other key events like the Gold Coast Airport Marathon and Armor All 600 and the HSBC World Series Rugby Sevens and Challenge Cairns.
The Quiksilver and Roxy Pro world surfing tour events return in February, the Mooloolaba and Noosa Triathlons continue to grow in size and popularity and in just its fourth year the Brisbane International has cemented its spot on the national tennis calendar, marking the beginning of the Australian Open Series.
The first official event on the 2012 Queensland Events Calendar is the Brisbane International Tennis Championships, which kicked off at Tennyson on 1 January 2012.
For more information visit Events Queensland.