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Tent city on the cards as Townsville puts up sold-out sign for Origin

Statewide

Townsville may consider establishing a “tent city” to accommodate the massive influx of North Queenslanders expected to attend the historic first State of Origin match to be played in the northern capital.

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Townsville hotels are already reporting a massive rush on rooms for the June 9 clash, which was shifted to Townsville yesterday in the wake of the Melbourne pandemic.

In addition, special temporary grandstands will be constructed at the “open” end of the stadium to push the newly-opened Queensland Country Bank Stadium to more than 27,000.

The event is expected to inject at least $5 million into the local economy as Townsville braces for an impromptu party built around the once-in-a-lifetime relocated Origin clash.

The region’s peak economic lobby group is confident it is up to the task of pulling together a world-class event.

“These sorts of events are normally months, if not years, in the making, and nine days is a very short lead time,” Lisa Woolfe, director of visitor economy and marketing with Townsville Enterprise told the ABC.

“But we are North Queensland, and we do not shy away from a challenge.”.

Accommodation and transport are top of the list, with Magnetic Island, off the coast of Townsville, also touted as a potential option for footy fans.

“It’s only 20 minutes away and you can use a very efficient ferry service to get from the game to your accommodation on Magnetic Island,” Woolfe said.

“We will certainly see pretty well every bed in this city and across Magnetic Island full over that period.

“We are leaving no stone unturned to make sure that every person who wants to be in this city to see [Origin] have the opportunity to do just that.”

Townsville Airport general manager Brendan Cook told the ABC they were looking forward to welcoming excited NRL fans.

“We are talking to our airline partners about scheduling additional flights to North Queensland to coincide with this event,” he said.

The announcement comes soon after both Virgin and Qantas added more year-round flights to and from Townsville.

Tickets go on sale on Wednesday.

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