HERVEY Bay will be home to a new Olympic-distance triathlon from next year.
Brisbane events manager Phil Hungerford, who has been involved with the successful Hervey Bay 100 and Queensland Schools State Triathlon Championships, will introduce the Fraser Coast Triathlon to the region in May.
The event will be run over Olympic distances of a 1.5km swim, a 40km ride and 10km run, offering the potential to attract big-name athletes and showcase some of our best and brightest prospects, including Hervey Bay's Matt Hauser, the only Australian triathlete heading to China for the Youth Olympic Games in August.
The triathlon is expected to draw 450 to 500 competitors in its first year and then continue to grow, bringing economic benefits to the region.
Mr Hungerford said Hervey Bay's proximity to Brisbane and northern and inland regions made it an ideal location for the event.
"We tend to be more orientated to regional events because we understand that the tourism industry needs events brought to those areas and Hervey Bay offers a very good venue," he said.
"We've proved the point with the Hervey Bay 100 and we had a record field at the schools triathlon. As for the area itself, being close to Brisbane, it's very easy to get to and the accommodation is well priced."
Mr Hungerford said the cost of entry would also attract competitors. While similar events on the Sunshine Coast cost more than $200 to enter, the Hervey Bay Triathlon would likely cost closer to $120.
The triathlon will be family friendly, with side events planned for children and the hope of growing the event to include specialised swim and cycling competitions.
Mr Hungerford said economic benefit to the area was difficult to estimate but evidence suggested even day-trippers to triathlons spent an average of about $50 each.
Fraser Coast councillor Darren Everard, who holds the sport and recreation portfolio, said retailers, accommodation businesses and eateries would all reap rewards from the event.