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Targa fuels Tropical North Queensland tourism boost

Tourism leaders are predicting that future growth in the highly acclaimed Targa Great Barrier Reef tarmac rally will provide an economic boom for Tropical North Queensland.

Photo: Angryman Photograhy

The three-day Cairns-based rally will be held for the second time this year from August 30 to September 1 with entry numbers swelling by an astonishing 40 per cent.

Targa Australia and local authorities have struck a three-year deal with an option to extend. The signature event has filled a high profile motorsport void in the northern tip of Queensland.

The very nature of the rally which embraces a large slice of the scenic roads close to Cairns highlights the dramatic beauty of the Atherton Tableland region and its tropical flavour.

The timing on the calendar ensures that a boost in visitors comes during the shoulder season.

A broad spectrum of cars representing a huge slice of automotive history have been entered for TGBR with the numbers around 270 set for the start line on August 30.

Tourism Tropical North Queensland Chief Executive Officer Pip Close labels Targa a natural fit for the region.

“We are hearing that the 40 per cent jump in entries is because of the popularity of the destination with entrants taking the opportunity to bring their family and friends for a holiday,” Close said.

“I’m sure entry numbers will continue to grow in future years.

 “And importantly, more entrants will want to stay longer and explore the region further which will further boost the $3 million injected into the local economy during the event.”

“This year Targa has partnered with Sunlover Reef Cruises to offer a dedicated Great Barrier Reef trip to entrants and I encourage them to take the opportunity to see the beauty of this World Heritage area.”

TGBR is the third round of the four-round CAMS Australian Targa Championship which is already showing potential to lure international competitors.

 “SilkAir now flies to Cairns daily and will merge with Singapore Airlines in the near future providing excellent connectivity for rally enthusiasts in Asia,” she said.

“TTNQ promoted Targa Great Barrier Reef at International Media Marketplace Asia which was held in Singapore after the first event (2018) and there was widespread interest from the travel media.

“Media coverage is another bonus for the destination as Targa Great Barrier Reef is broadcast around the world helping promote the Cairns and Great Barrier Reef region internationally.”

Targa Great Barrier Reef will see competitors across nine classes cover 214.17km of intense and challenging timed stages.

The first of the scheduled 16 competitive stages is set for Green Hill ahead of the field moving to the Gillies Highway.

On the second day, competition moves to new-for-2019 routes around the Mareeba region.

The final day sees Leg 3 embracing some iconic roads that include the Kuranda Range and the areas around Millaa Millaa and the Palmerston Highway.

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