JASON O'Pray has lost 12.4kg and has another six to go for the Sunshine Coast councillor and former Australian Surf Life Saving Belt Swim champion to be back to his competitive weight for the national titles at Maroochydore in April next year.
Nominations for the titles, the first to be held here since 1980, opened yesterday.
The Division 8 Councillor may be well on the way to renewed fitness to contest the event 13 years after he last won it in 2003.
But Sunshine Coast Chamber of Commerce president Michael Shadforth said it was also time for business to begin planning for an expected influx of 22,000 spectators and competitors.
Cr O'Pray was an open belt silver medallist in 2001 and won gold for the next two years at a weight of 88kg.
Mr Shadforth said it was important businesses capitalised on an estimated $20 million cash injection at what was normally a quiet time of the year.
The chamber will talk to its counterparts on the Gold Coast, a long-time stager of the national titles, to get a clearer understanding of customer expectation.
"We've brought the numbers before, we need to gear up for them," Mr Shadforth said.
Most attention will be on the nine days of competition that coincides with Maroochydore SLSC centenary celebrations, but Mr Shadforth said it would be the impression made off the beach that would determine the long-term economic benefit.
"We really need to impress," he said.
He said the key will be to get Sunshine Coast residents and businesses excited about it, to be welcoming and focused on everyone having a great time.
"We can go from good to great if everyone is on board," he said.
Sunshine Coast Council nominated a $676,000 investment in the championships against the expected $20 million economic boost.
However, renovations to the Maroochydore foreshore and carpark have cost that much, with a further $2 million spent on sand pumping.
A contingency is in place to pump more sand from the Maroochy River mouth early next year if summer storms take their toll.
Cr O'Pray said the investment in the beach was worth the money, with its annual economic value from Mooloolaba to Maroochydore put at an estimated $80m.
He said accommodation in Mooloolaba, Alexandra Headland and Maroochydore was already booked out for the titles, with bookings also being taken from Marcoola to Caloundra.
Mayor Mark Jamieson said visitors would have an eye-opening experience and leave understanding what the region had to offer.
Cr Jamieson said the titles were a chance to replicate the experience of cruise ship visits which surveys have shown generate an intention among 30% of their number to return for longer stays.
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