Ballarat Mayor John Burt has kickstarted a push for the city’s bid to host a nation during the 16th Asian Cup in Australia in 2015.
The ‘Back the Bid’ campaign will focus on Ballarat showing its support for a leading nation to base themselves here leading into the tournament in January 2015.
“There is no doubt getting a nation to stay in Ballarat for some 20 or 30 days in December next year and leading up to Christmas will be the best present that we at the Town Hall could possibly give to the people of Ballarat,” Cr Burt said.
“If we can get a Japan or a China to set themselves up right here in Ballarat, there is the very real potential to get 10,000 people a day coming to our great city to stay, spend and enjoy this part of the world.”
Fifteen nations plus Australia will compete in the tournament which runs from January 8 to 31, with matches to be played in Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane. Teams are expected to establish training bases close to the game venues before and during the tournament.
“The City of Ballarat is committed to getting a team to come here. Of course we would like one of the heavy hitters of Asia, but to be honest any team will be fantastic”.
“We will leave no stone unturned to get a team here and with the fantastic new stadium being built right now, we have a great chance to bring tens of millions of dollars into Ballarat through December which will lead beautifully into the Christmas period for our hotels, restaurants, tourist attractions and shops,” Cr Burt said.
“I can’t think of a better way to showcase to Asia and for that matter much of the world, what our fabulous city has to offer and what a great place it is to come and see, than to have a team here that will get huge media exposure and showcase Ballarat to billions of people.
“This is a $30 or $40 million direct economic benefit over the next few years that we have no intention of letting slip.”
A twitter and facebook page has also been launched and has been set up to keep all informed about the latest news and information on how Ballarat’s bid is moving along. A website is also in development.