IT HAS remained a well-kept secret for almost two years, but now the beans have well and truly been spilled.
In a major coup for the city and one that is expected to inject more than $5 million into the region’s economy, The Leader can now report Tamworth has secured the rights to the 2014 Lions Club multi-district convention.
The annual convention, which is normally held in a major capital city, is tipped to be one of the largest Lions conventions ever seen in country Australia.
About 2000 club members and their partners from across Australia, Papua New Guinea and Norfolk Island will descend on the city from May 2 to 6 for the four-day event.
As well as the convention, a training camp held at the Best Western Sanctuary Inn and Quest Apartments in the week leading up the event will see more than 120 Lions district governors call the city their temporary home.
It was Tamworth’s world-class facilities that helped win the bid for the conference two years ago, Destination Tamworth business events manager Gavin Flanagan said.
“We put a fantastic bid in a number of years ago and we were lucky enough to secure the conference,” he said.
“TRECC is a world-class facility and we have the accommodation infrastructure to hold this amount of people.”
Mr Flanagan said Tamworth was on the way to cementing its place as a conference and convention mecca.
“One thing we’ve been working on is building our event base,” he said.
“Obviously we have the country music festival, which brings in close to $50 million to the economy, and we also have the NCHA Futurity and a number of other events, but we are really looking to build on conferences and conventions.”
Mr Flanagan said the economic benefits would be “wide-reaching”, with hoteliers, restaurants, tourism providers and retail outlets set to profit.
Tamworth Lions Club chairman Adrian Thurlow said co-ordinating the conference was a “mammoth job” but he had no regrets.
“It will be fantastic for the town. The reason we took it on was for what it will bring to Tamworth over the period ... particularly at that time of year, when nothing else is on,” Mr Thurlow said.