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Regional tourism overhaul to unlock potential of NSW visitor economy

Regional tourism overhaul to unlock potential of NSW visitor economy
July 6, 2016

The NSW Government will invest $43 million over four years in a major overhaul of the way regional and rural areas attract visitors, including the creation of six new Destination Networks throughout NSW and a regional conferencing unit for Destination NSW.

Announcing the changes, NSW Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres said the new networks will work closely with local government, tourism organisations and operators, as well as collaborate with Destination NSW and a new Destination NSW regional division on campaigns.

Minister Ayres stated “the networks will improve industry engagement and better development of visitor experiences and products.

“Destination NSW is the state’s expert body in tourism campaigns, marketing and programs and their assistance in building the new regional networks will make a positive difference.

“By investing around $10 million a year in support of the new regional initiatives we aim to bolster our efforts in attracting visitors to regional and rural NSW.

“The NSW Government has a goal of doubling overnight visitor expenditure by 2020, and we know that regional tourism is an important driver in meeting this target.”

The four new regional destination networks are: Destination Riverina Murray; Destination Southern NSW (including the Snowy Mountains and Far South Coast); Destination North Coast (from Mid-Coast to Tweed Heads including Lord Howe Island); and Destination Country and Outback NSW. The two Sydney Surrounds destination networks will include: Destination Sydney Surrounds North (including Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Hunter); and Destination Sydney Surrounds South (including Southern Highlands, Wollongong and Shoalhaven). Other new initiatives include a regional conferencing unit within Destination NSW and an increase over the next four years to both the Contestable Pool of the Regional Visitor Economy Fund ($3.5 million) and to the Regional Flagship Event Funding ($4 million).

Created after consultation with 93 key industry associations and stakeholders on ways to improve the outcomes for the Regional NSW visitor economy, the new networks have been welcomed by leading industry bodies.

Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA) welcomed the announcement, particularly the creation of a dedicated regional conferencing unit for Destination NSW, an initiative that TAA has been advocating for a number of years.

TAA Chief Executive Carol Giuseppi stated “this is an excellent initiative by the NSW Government because while weekend and holiday tourism has remained strong in many regional centres, other areas have seen downturns in business travel and conferencing due to the depressed mining, manufacturing and agriculture sectors.

“NSW has an abundance of rich tourism attractions and quality hotels, and we believe that with greater promotion and support that these destinations can attract more major conferences, which have a significant multiplier effect for the wider regional economy.

The Caravan & Camping Industry Association (CCIA) NSW also welcomed the new approach and increased funding for the development of regional tourism in NSW.

CCIA NSW Chief Executive Lyndel Gray said the new approach to regional tourism, which includes six new Destination Networks aligned to the visitor experience, would be welcomed by members across NSW.

Gray commented “a focus on supporting this growth and providing a more comprehensive and coordinated approach to destination management and marketing will help the caravan and camping sector build on its current success.

“With a clear trend towards domestic holidays, and the experiences only on offer in regional destinations, the caravan and camping sector will play an integral role in regional tourism growth.”

Gray added “tourism is the backbone of many regional towns across NSW and caravan parks are an important part of the accommodation mix, right across the state.

“With more than 400 holiday parks around NSW, the vast majority within regional areas, we look forward to the opportunity to work with the new Destination Network’s in building stronger tourism experiences in regional areas.”

The NSW Business Chamber’s Tourism Advisory Council also backed the restructuring of the management of regional tourism with Chair Simon Spellicy stating “the current operational framework and funding model underpinning regional tourism in NSW is not working effectively, which is why we are pleased that the Government has outlined a clear blueprint of what needs to be done to overcome the current challenges.”

NSW Deputy Premier Troy Grant said establishing new Destination Networks will create more jobs in tourism, which will have flow-on positive effects for regional economies, concluding “regional tourism contributes $6.7 billion to our state and employs 73,900 people.

“This plan will boost regional investment in tourism and strengthen the operation of our local tourism bodies.

“Skills-based, professional boards will deliver destination management plans with a focus on attracting more visitors to our spectacular regions, supported by more quality tourism infrastructure and job opportunities.”

Key initiatives from the review included:

• Increased funding for regional tourism funding programs in NSW from $7 million to $11 million
• Long-term strategic focus underpinned by the development of a state-side Destination Management Plan, mapping out the priorities for product development & marketing investment
• Six new Destination Networks (DNs)
• Four year administrative funding agreements with the DNs
• Introduction of skills based Boards for the DNs with provision for Director remuneration 

Images: Camping at Coffs Harbour (top), the Deni Ute Muster (middle) and Blue Mountains attraction Scenic World (below).

21st June 2016 - NSW BUDGET ACCLAIMED FOR BACKING VISITOR ECONOMY

17th June 2016 - FIGURES SHOW NSW AS AUSTRALIA’S NUMBER ONE REGIONAL DESTINATION FOR VISITORS

10th February 2016 - INAUGURAL NSW REGIONAL EVENTS CONFERENCE TO BE STAGED IN WAGGA WAGGA

5th April 2016 - NSW REGIONAL TOURISM BOARD ENTERS ADMINISTRATION

24th December 2015 - FUNDING BOOST FOR TOURISM IN REGIONAL NSW

20th August 2015 - NSW CAMPERS AND SURFERS AGREE STRATEGIC OUTDOOR TOURISM PARTNERSHIP

14th August 2014 - REPORT SHOWS EVENTS DRIVE REGIONAL TOURISM


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