The struggling Geelong and Surf Coast tourist industry suffered another blow with the postponement for the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.
The 2022 version of the event was set to go ahead in January, but organiser Visit Victoria last week announced it had been advised that the WorldTour Teams will not be able to travel to Australia for January’s elite cycling calendar due to national quarantine challenges.
It follows the 2021 version being cancelled, also due to the pandemic.
The race which was started in 2015 has attracted some of the world’s best cyclists, while also bringing in a number of tourists to the area.
The event has elite men’s and women’s races, along with the people’s ride and family ride over the four-day event.
Visit Victoria chief executive Brendan McClements said it was a disappointing result for race organisers and the communities along the Surf Coast.
“Visit Victoria is currently exploring opportunities to hold an international cycling event later in 2022,” Mr McClements said.
Tourism Geelong and Bellarine executive director Brett Ince said it was another blow for the tourist industry that had been hit hard the past two years.
“The event is a big one for the area, as it’s an international event,” he said. “It will have a significant impact on the area [it not going ahead] and it’s disappointing that it can’t go ahead.
“I know the event organiser exhausted all avenues and we’re hoping there will be further opportunities for the event in late 2022.”
Mr Ince said there had been significant challenges for the area with several large events either cancelled or postponed.
He said many events that were scheduled for early next year were also still to be confirmed.
“A lot of domestic events are likely to be on a smaller scale and reimagined,” he said. “The impact hasn’t just been events like the Cadel event.
“Business events, large scale events and weddings, they all have a significant impact.”