Bunbury will host a heat of Australia's richest harness racing event, the Inter Dominion championship, for the next two years thanks to a deal secured by the state government.
Premier and tourism minister Colin Barnett said Bunbury Trotting Club last year became the first provincial club to host an Inter Dominion heat in the event’s 80-year history.
"The tourism sector in Perth and Bunbury enjoyed a $2.28 million boost as a result of last year's event, predominantly from interstate visitors," Mr Barnett said.
"The overall economic contribution to the WA economy was valued at $9.5 million. These are the type of diverse events that we want to continue to attract to Western Australia."
Racing and gaming minister Brendon Grylls said the South West was an integral racing region, accounting for more than 10 per cent of WA industry participants and nearly 20 per cent of volunteers.
"In order to continue to grow racing in the South West, it is vital we continue to bring major events such as the Inter Dominion to the region," Mr Grylls said.
"The Inter Dominion is the equivalent of the Melbourne Cup for standard bred horses and the $1.1 million grand final prize purse makes it the richest horse race in the state this year."
The minister encouraged trotting fans in the South West to embrace the event and ensure it was a historical night for the Bunbury Trotting Club.
"It is rare that an internationally renowned sporting event comes to a regional centre, so I want to make sure the people of the South West make it count," Mr Grylls said.
The Inter Dominions were created in Perth in 1936 with Lennytheshark winning the 2015 WA-hosted edition.
The 2016 Bunbury Trotting Club heat will be held on Tuesday, November 29 with heats at Gloucester Park on November 25 and December 2. The grand final will be held in Perth on December 9.
Regional development minister Terry Redman said positioning regional Western Australia as a recognised events destination was vital.
"Events like the Inter Dominion championship strengthen local tourism-related businesses and contribute to the vibrancy of regional communities," Mr Redman said.
"Tourism has a strong influence on regional development and brings significant social and economic benefits to the regions. Royalties for Regions investment into the regional events program is vital to see this growth continue."
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