This group of Hervey Bay juniors competed at the Joeys Mini World Cup at Inverell, NSW, in 2015. This year's juniors won't have to travel.
This group of Hervey Bay juniors competed at the Joeys Mini World Cup at Inverell, NSW, in 2015. This year's juniors won't have to travel. Matthew McInerney

Mini Cup a major coup for tourism, accommodation providers

ONE of Australia's biggest regional football competitions is on the way to the Fraser Coast, and with it a timely tourism kick for the economy.

Inverell has hosted the Joeys Mini World Cup for the past eight years, and while it's attracted about 50 teams each year, organisers believed the event needed something to change to stimulate growth.

An expansive search settled on the Fraser Coast, specifically the new Sports Precinct at Nikenbah from October 1 to 5 this year, and both Maryborough and Hervey Bay stand to benefit.

Joeys Mini World Cup organiser Heinrich Haussler told the Chronicle Maryborough could host the major presentation at the end of the carnival, which could attract the predicted 1000-1500 players, officials, and their families.

The week-long event, including the designated rest day, will allow families to explore the Fraser Coast.

Fraser Coast councillor for tourism Stuart Taylor said it was a major opportunity.

"It is a pre-existing football competition that has the opportunity to grow at the Fraser Coast,” he said.

The economic effect could be similar to the Queensland Touch Junior State Cup, which injects millions of dollars every July.

"It's a different demographic,” Cr Taylor said. " Football Queensland research has shown that football players and their families tend to stay for longer, bring more people, and spend more money.”

That fact will provide a much-needed boost to local accommodation providers.

The Bay Apartments owner Denise Foulston said traditionally visitor numbers would dwindle in the first week of October after an extremely busy August and September.

"With these Monday to Friday events, families will usually stay for the Saturday as well which adds an extra day,” Mrs Foulston said.

"Usually (guest numbers are) starting to dwindle a little bit as it's not as busy.”

She said the timing of the event could provide more opportunities to advertise the region as a holiday destination.

"It's generally that time of year when people are thinking about the Christmas holidays, and we could have a few of those people come back,” Ms Foulston said.

The Joeys Mini World Cup attracts players and clubs from New South Wales, country Queensland, and internationally. Teams play as countries from the World Cup, with three players given an opportunity to tour Germany as part of a national Joeys team.

Hervey Bay duo Sam Whatman and Perth Bradford have previously been invited to the tour.



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