Regional tourism boost
Saturday, 9th July, 2016
By Daniel Stringer
An announcement that the NSW Government will invest $43m in regional tourism is set to provide a boost to Broken Hill and businesses.
The announcement was made by NSW Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres in what he calls a major overhaul in the way regional areas attract visitors.
The plan involves the creation of six new Destination Networks throughout NSW and the establishment of a new Destination NSW regional division.
In a press release, Mr Ayres said the new structure aimed to increase the visitor numbers to regional NSW.
“The networks will improve industry engagement and better development of visitor experiences and products,” he said.
“By investing around $10 million in the support of the new regional initiatives we aim to bolster our efforts in attracting visitors to regional and rural NSW.”
The new system will replace the current Regional Tourism Organisation model, with Broken Hill and surrounding areas being classified under the Destination Country and Outback NSW network.
It is not yet known how involved local tourism body Destination Far West will be in assisting to deliver the plan, as it has only just been established following the collapse of the previous model Inland NSW.
Should it be successful, the initiative would have a major impact on the Broken Hill economy, which already relies heavily on tourism.
In a report released in January by the Australian Bureau of Statistics which focused on Australian tourism figures, it showed that the total value tourism brought into Broken Hill during 2015 was $70.9 million.
The report also showed that tourism accounted for 10.8% of the total employment in the city.
The Australian Regional Tourism Network Chair David Sheldon told the BDT that he believed this initiative and its funding could greatly benefit a place like Broken Hill.
“Broken Hill has so much to offer and I feel this funding will go a long way to not only building a strong platform for tourism, but also promoting the best aspects of the city to prospective tourists,” he said.
“We are hoping the funding will go towards attracting both domestic and international tourists.”
Whilst Mr Sheldon says the amount of funding that will be given to each network is still a grey area, he said the new structure would focus less on marketing and more on working with local councils and businesses to increase tourism.
This is good news for businesses in the area that rely largely on tourism to stay afloat.
Silverton pub owner Peter Price says he welcomes the change and hopes that it can provide the support that is needed.
“If this is the way they are going to go then that is great and I welcome it.
“This is all positive, but we seem to be going through all different processes from different tourism bodies and hopefully this one can do the job.”
Peter expressed his disappointment in the failing of local tourism body Inland NSW, saying everyone had been sucked in and subsequently lost money.
He hopes that the tourism leaders have learnt from their previous mistakes and move forward.
“I think these guys have learnt after a few years of just putting money into marketing that the towns need more than that and hopefully this new plan shows that they are going to deliver it.”
The main goal of the project is to double overnight visitors in rural NSW by 2020.