If there is one thing that the Australian Horse Racing community has done extremely well throughout the last two seasons, it is to hold on. Through the 2020 Spring Racing and at the early stages of the 2021 Carnival, the Australian Horse Racing Committee, together with the Victorian Racing Club and state governments have worked to protect the time-honoured tradition of spring racing in Australia to ensure that the sport carries on to remain a staple on the Australian special event calendar for years to come.
Special event tourism in Victoria
Though the Spring Racing Carnival spans regional meets throughout Victoria and Sydney races as well, the vast majority of the major racing events take place in metropolitan Melbourne. The Melbourne Cup, as the premier event of the Spring Racing Carnival, has worked to draw hundreds of thousands of domestic tourists from out-of-state and regional locations into the city for many years. International competitors have brought entourages along with them and world travellers have flocked to Victoria’s main racing events to experience the most of the Australian sporting culture. Racegoers have always sought to experience the wonder of a day at the races in the past while gathering the best racing tips in person, and although the attendance is severely restricted in 2021, fans are already keen to get back to the races again in 2022.
Keeping tradition alive
Though attendance at the Spring Racing Carnival in both 2020 and 2021 has experienced highly restricted numbers, the Australian Horse Racing Committee together with state racing boards and individual racecourses have all worked together to ensure that the show has gone on. Major races have been both televised and live-streamed over the past 18 months to ensure that the public interest in horse racing has remained throughout a tough set of conditions, all the while keeping this revered tradition alive in the minds of fans around the country, and throughout the world.
Unlike the races themselves, restricted attendance has resulted in the cancellation of several events which support the Spring Racing Carnival, but they too have been approached in a unique light to ensure that the interest remains. In 2020, Myer introduced their online competition Fashions on your Front Lawn, which allowed race going fashionistas not to miss another year of style and glamour despite numerous lockdowns and event cancellations. In 2021, Fashions on your Front Lawn will again replace the ever-popular Fashions on the Field which is usually held as a part of Oaks Day at Flemington Racecourse.
How horse racing will contribute to the reopening of tourism
As with the establishment of The Everest race in 2017, the Australian Horse Racing Committee continues to produce thrilling events for spectators and sports fans alike. Being an internationally acclaimed sport, horse racing in Australia has the ability to draw more interest than some national sports, giving it a far greater reach in the realms of special event or sports tourism. As a staple on the Australian sporting calendar, the Australian Horse Racing Committee will continue to promote its Spring Racing events into 2022 providing enthusiasts with a continuing reason to travel to Victoria’s capital. As we begin to see restrictions changing in 2022, it is hoped that special events such as the Spring Racing Carnival will play a vital role in the re-emergence of special event tourism for Australia.