Muster loss leaves $7 million hole in region’s wallet
THE loss of this year’s Gympie Muster due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will leave a $7 million hole in the region’s economy.
Muster chairman Greg Cavanagh said this figure, the bulk of the event’s $9 million injection into the state, includes a $800,000 loss to the region’s local suppliers.
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“We’re talking big numbers,” Mr Cavanagh said.
They highlight the festival’s progress over the past few years. In 2015 an independent tourism value report put the Muster’s economic value to the region at $5.4 million, and the equivalent of 64 jobs.
And hope remains the festival’s strong Australian market will give it a leg up to return next year, despite the devastation caused to international tourism by the pandemic this year (Queensland’s overseas visitor numbers have plummeted 60 per cent since March, and international border restrictions are expected to be among the last lifted).
“One area of focus this year was to target more northern New South Wales residents,” Mr Cavanagh said.
This market would continue to be a focus for next year’s event, he said.
It would be the Muster’s 40th celebration, and plans were for it to be “big” even without the prestige of returning after a pandemic.
“(The Muster) is certainly do-able next year,” Mr Cavanagh said.