Australians love their triathlons.
I was blows away recently to learn that the Noosa Triathlon Festival this weekend in Australia draws about forty thousand spectators (including Russell Crowe) and brings in over $10 million Aussie dollars.
In a country that has only about 10 percent of the population of the United States that just incredible.
Read the full story below from The Courier Mail in Australia:
NOOSA'S annual sports festival has become a $10 million super event, drawing crowds of more than 50,000 to the Sunshine Coast.
The number of domestic and international tourists who have flocked to the region for the Noosa Triathlon Multi Sport Festival brought the holiday town to a standstill yesterday, and organisers warned of similar congestion today.
Hotels, units and rental properties are fully booked and roads had to be closed for the festival, which has been voted by US publication Inside Triathlon as the "must-see" event of the year.
More than 8000 competitors and at least 40,000 spectators from as far as Iceland are in Noosa this weekend.
Celebrities rumoured to have flown in include Russell Crowe, who is tipped to watch today's action from a VIP tent.
Noosa Triathlon spokeswoman Lisa Pringle said the event, which attracted fewer than 200 people when it started in 1972, had surpassed the "wildest expectations" of organisers.
"The triathlon brought $8 million to Noosa two years ago and that figure is expected to rise to $10 million this year," she said.
An Accom Noosa spokeswoman said the region was booked solid. She said late arrivals had tried in vain to find last-minute rooms.
"We're beyond 100 per cent occupancy," she said. "The whole of Noosa and beyond has been fully booked for weeks and we've had people on the phone trying desperately to find somewhere to stay all week."
A Sheraton Noosa spokesman said the 175-room hotel on Hastings St was booked out.
Noosa Mayor Bob Abbot said the event was the highlight of the international triathlon circuit.
"It's a great boost for Noosa and the local economy because people from around the world love visiting the area and making the most of the natural beauty of the region," Cr Abbot said.