Commonwealth Games: good for the Gold Coast, bad for business

Businesses on the Gold Coast are able to see the big-picture benefit when it comes to the legacy of the GC2018 Commonwealth Games, but that doesn’t lessen the sting of the ways in which they feel let down by the international mega-event, according to a new business impact survey from Griffith University.

Dr Joan Carlini

Conducted by Griffith Business School researchers Dr Joan Carlini and Professor Andrew O’Neil, the Business and the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games: Expectations, outcomes and the future report interviewed businesses 12 months after the Games to gauge opinion about the event in terms of its lasting impact on the city and local industry.

The two-stage research included 39 face-to-face interviews and 150 hard-copy and online responses, the majority of participants being owners of businesses with one to 19 employees and an annual turnover of at least $200,000.

“In speaking with local owners and operators who were directly affected by the presence of the Commonwealth Games throughout the Easter trading period last year, we found a stark dichotomy of viewpoints about the event’s effect,” Dr Carlini said.

“Notably, although our businesspeople were, in general, disappointed with the Games as far as their influence on trading, they remained surprisingly positive about the broader benefits being brought to the region.”

Professor Andrew O’Neil

This is most apparent in questions pertaining to the financial outcomes for businesses, with 74 per cent of respondents describing the Games’ impact on their organisation as negative, 77 per cent disagreeing that their business had seen a good return on investment in GC2018, and 72 per cent disagreeing that the Games brought their business a boost.

Conversely, 57 per cent agreed that the Commonwealth Games enhanced the ability of the Gold Coast to offer attractive cultural, artistic and recreational resources, 61 per cent believed the event increased awareness of the Gold Coast on the international stage, and 62 per cent agreed that the Games will aid in attracting more sporting events to the Gold Coast.

And while a majority of respondents – 69 per cent – disagreed with the notion that holding GC2018 during the Easter trading period was a good choice, almost the same proportion (65 per cent) said they would rate the overall experience of the event as ‘good to excellent’.

“Ultimately, although owners and operators were evidently able to appreciate the reputational upside to the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, there appears to be an enduring sense that local businesses were not adequately consulted or considered by organisers in the lead-up to the event,” Dr Carlini said.

“In future, it will be crucial for organisers and government to engage in meaningful conversation with local businesses, and for them take a proactive role in the planning and execution of such events, to ensure they feel seen and heard.”

The full report will be launched by Dr Carlini and Professor O’Neil at an event from 5.30-7.30pm tonight, 18 June, at the Gold Coast’s Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort.

See the Friends of the Griffith Business School events page or the GBS Research Blog for more information.