Two major events in Geelong, Victoria, were predicted to generate more than $20 million in economic benefit for the region over the 2019 Australia Day four-day long weekend.

The Festival of Sails and Cadel Evans Great Ocean Race were expected to each attract about 100,000 people based on last year’s attendance.

The sailing and cycling events generated an economic benefit of $10.28 million and $10 million respectively in 2018, only the biennial Australian International Airshow, which produced a $22 million benefit when it was last held in 2017, recorded a higher figure. The Airshow was again held 1-3 March 2019.

Assessments made of the financial benefits of hosting major international one off events such as the Olympic Games or the soccer World Cup, agree that the benefits for local economies are not there.

The way to grow a successful event in your town might be to take as your model, the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics (profit $250 million), and utilise what assets you already have. The other lesson here is create a recurring event that doesn’t compete with existing events but allows other events to pop up around it.

This is the philosophy used by Brisbane City Council and the Queensland Government in their inaugural collaborative effort Curiocity Brisbane.

The event, billed as ‘an immersive, interactive and multi-sensory experience that will link the city from South Bank to New Farm’, runs from 15 March, 2019 for 20 days.

Tourism Industry Development Minister, Kate Jones, said the aim was a new event for Brisbane, which would grow to become a national and international major event.

Lord Mayor, Graham Quirk, has a vision of Brisbane as Australia’s New World City and the three-week festival will showcase the city’s innovation and aptitude for science and creativity. It is a place where science, technology and the arts collide.

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to flock to Brisbane for the event, contributing an estimated $150 million annual boost to the economy via the local tourism, hospitality, retail and service industries.

A key pillar of the inaugural Curiocity Brisbane is the World Science Festival Brisbane 2019 (20-24 March). Founded over a decade ago in New York, Queensland Museum Network secured the exclusive licence to host World Science Festival in the Asia Pacific from 2016-21.

Also featuring is QODE-19 (2-3 April), a brand new global technology and innovation event for those ‘wanting to better understand the future business landscape’ including artificial intelligence, cyber security, data, blockchain, robotics, healthcare, mega disruption economy, energy, industry 4.0, and foodtech.

The Curiocities, a trail of 10+ interactive installations positioned along the Brisbane River, such as Wave Opus III, a large-scale self-playing instrument, operate both day and night.

The event demonstrates the creativity and innovative thinking shown by councils big and small, to create advantages for their communities in this competitive marketplace. Whether it’s attracting the tourist dollar, or business investment, or building social amenity, councils are stepping up and having a go.

Two articles in this month’s Focus, Shepp Square shows initiative and Silo art trail grows, are examples of thinking councils creating opportunities. Port Pirie has developed a local sporting precinct to attract the notice of state and national sporting teams while providing the locals with a first class amenity. But it doesn’t take huge financial investment to look around and identify what’s unique about a place and use it to put a pin in the map. Or look at what’s trending in the world at large that can be harnessed locally.