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Tourism given a boost

Saturday, 16th July, 2011

By John Casey

The major shakeup underway within regional tourism has taken another twist with the establishment of an ambitious new alliance in Broken Hill.

The Far West Tourism and Industry Alliance has “exciting plans” to generate hundreds of thousands of dollars for the sector and wants to work parallel with existing government and City Council strategies.

Nationally-acclaimed operator Michael McCulkin (Tri-State Safaris) has been appointed Chairman of the alliance and says it will help the far west of NSW boost its reputation as an “iconic tourism destination”.

“We have some major sponsors engaged in this exciting new step forward which will empower those within the tourism industry to take charge of their own destiny,” Mr McCulkin said.

“It has been said that tourism is everyone’s business and that is very true.

“The alliance has been established to look at the big picture and we hope to have the active participation of many across the far west.”

The new alliance follows the merger of Outback Tourism with two of the state’s other regional operations to form Inland NSW Tourism.

Mr McCulkin has recently been appointed a founding director of the newly-created organisation and believes his role as chairman of the alliance provides many synergies.

“Due to the restructuring of Inland NSW Tourism opportunities now exist with additional funding being made available for marketing,” he said.

“It is intended that a fund be established by the alliance through sponsorship and investment for the purpose of matching State government tourism marketing and development grants.

“We need to develop our unique tourism product in the far west of NSW to encourage more visitors to the area, to get them to stay longer and spend more. This equates to more jobs, so we all benefit.”

Mr McCulkin said the alliance would be led by a yet to be finalised seven-member committee representing business and tourism operators from Broken Hill and the region.

Eventually it hopes to have the participation of many people from across the far west, “the more supporters the better”, Mr McCulkin said.

“The alliance is keen to work with all agencies, local governments, tourism operators and key industries to achieve its goals and we will establish a transparent process for both managing initiatives and informing investors of our activities.”

The rapid pace of change sweeping through the tourism sector in Australia prompted Mr McCulkin to join the alliance.

“This is not a local issue. Tourism across the country is going through dramatic changes at the moment and we need to move with that wave.”

Mr McCulkin added that the establishment of the new body should not be seen as a criticism of what has been done by others.

“We all know that at the moment money is tight for organisations such as local councils and they don’t have the funds to do what they have done in the past,” he said.

“One of our prime strategies is to continue to work closely with local government, but this is an opportunity for us to take charge of our own futures to some extent.”

“As an independent group - rather than a government entity - there will be opportunities to get other corporate stakeholders involved.

“We are not out to change the world in 2011. We know there is a long road ahead,” said Mr McCulkin.

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