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The Melbourne Cup Carnival was declared the winner of the Major Festivals and Events category at the Australian Tourism Awards for the second time in three years.

The Victoria Racing Club (VRC) was recognised for the 2014 event’s remarkable economic impacts and promotion of Victoria and Australia to audiences around the globe. 

Accepting the award on Friday (5 February), VRC Chief Executive Simon Love said the Melbourne Cup Carnival is the jewel in Australia’s major event crown.

“The Melbourne Cup Carnival is Australia’s original major event, and what is remarkable is that more than a century and a half on it remains peerless in its benefits to Australia,” Mr Love said.

“It is home grown and a true celebration of all that we do best: sport, food and wine, entertainment and commerce. It transcends sport and is the most vibrant racing event in the world.

“Despite the event’s maturity, it continues to generate record visitation with more than a third of attendees from outside of Victoria. This is not an accident and requires a comprehensive strategy and significant investment. 

“The VRC invests $50 million each year to stage the Melbourne Cup Carnival, which in turn benefits the Victorian economy to the tune of more than $370 million and the Australian economy $700 million. No other self-funded event in Australia can claim to have such a positive effect on the economy.” 

More than 325,000 racegoers attended the four-day 2014 Melbourne Cup Carnival at Flemington, including visitors from 43 countries, generating $28.38 million in accommodation spending over 186,221 bed-nights.

Late last year, the event won the Victorian Tourism Awards for the third consecutive year, earning the Melbourne Cup Carnival a place in the Hall of Fame.

“I would like to thank the VRC team for its commitment to ensuring the Melbourne Cup Carnival remains a tourism success. And we couldn’t provide these benefits to the state without our sponsors, none more than our principal partner, Emirates,” Mr Love said.

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