The oldest sporting event in regional Victoria, the Festival of Sails has secured a three-year funding deal from the Victorian Coalition Government, Minister for Sport and Recreation, Hugh Delahunty announced today.
Making the announcement at the host venue, the Royal Geelong Yacht Club, Mr Delahunty said the Coalition Government was investing in the 2013, 2014 and 2015 Festival of Sails.
"We are extremely happy to extend our partnership with the Royal Geelong Yacht Club to ensure the continued prosperity and success of this proud and historic sporting event," Mr Delahunty said.
"The Festival of Sails first took place back in 1844, and has now grown into one of the largest sailing regattas in the Southern Hemisphere.
"Aside from being a wonderful event to watch, the Festival of Sails has positioned itself as a key element of Geelong's Australia Day celebrations, attracting around 100,000 spectators each year," Mr Delahnty said.
The Festival of Sails regatta will run from Thursday 24 to Monday 28 January 2013 and comprises 28 separate race series and more than 130 individual races over five days. The regatta attracts more than 4,500 participants from Australia and overseas, and is complemented by a community festival, incorporating Australia Day celebrations.
Mr Delahunty said the Festival of Sails delivers a number of benefits to Geelong and the broader Victorian community.
"The event brings strong economic benefits to the region, raises the tourism profile of the region, and boosts the profile of the sport of sailing," Mr Delahunty said.
"There's no doubt that major sporting events like the Festival of Sails help to constantly provide profile for our great state, both within Australia and overseas.
"They are a major driver of tourism employment growth, industry development, investment decisions and community outcomes, and that's why we're proud to support this important regatta for a further three years," Mr Delahunty said.
For further information about the Festival of Sails, please visit www.festivalofsails.com.au