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Tuesday, Apr 23, 2024

Code Four Taking the Pacific Airshow Overseas

Australia Event Lifts Off Next Summer

Last month’s Pacific Airshow brought millions in droves to Huntington Beach as spectators crowded the sand and streets of Surf City.

Director Kevin Elliott, and chief executive of the locally-based events organization Code Four, will be expanding the airshow to Gold Coast, Australia starting next August.

Marking the show’s international debut, the Pacific Airshow will be operated by the entertainment firm and the Australian city’s major events team, Tourism and Events Queensland, as well as the State of Queensland.

The goal is to replicate the event’s local impact, which in 2019 generated north of $100 million for Orange County’s economy due to full hotels, restaurants, and parking structures over the three days.

Code Four reported 2022 had the largest crowd in the event’s six-year history—last year counted around 3 million.

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate flew into OC to witness this year’s show.

“The Gold Coast ticked every box,” Tate told the Business Journal of the first meeting with Elliott to bring the show overseas. The city official noted how major events and tourism are a big part of his city’s make-up as well.

The airshow is Code Four’s first in-house event after purchasing the franchise in 2018.

Visiting the Gold Coast

When choosing the Australian city, Elliott said that he had found a location with long beaches, a supportive population, hosting experience and accommodations that resembled Huntington Beach.

Upon his visit, Tate said he could now “understand even more how the city pride, the celebration of the aviation industry, the anticipation of the crowds, and the economic impact and benefit” contribute to the show’s success.

Gold Coast counts 640,000 residents and is Australia’s sixth largest city as of 2021. Its coast includes a world heritage surf reserve and 35.4 miles of coastline.

According to Tourism Research Australia, the city attracted 3.2 million domestic overnight visitors from June 2021 to June 2022 which resulted in $3.3 billion in spending.

Accommodations and bookings have already begun, Tate said. With a visitor economy worth $5.9 billion pre-COVID, there are more than 21,000 rooms available, according to STR Global.

Flying Forward

Elliott is eyeing places like Israel and the United Arab Emirates as potential sites for future airshows. He’s also looking at other type of events.

The executive reports “a pipeline of opportunities to create and build from scratch,” as well as a targeted list of events to acquire.

Its portfolio now counts three events, including the Orange County Cherry Blossom Festival and its Afterburner Music Festival, which could generate more than $300 million in economic impact to Southern California every year, according to Elliott.

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