Byron heads new local government tourism alliance

Byron Shire Council, representing one of Australia’s most popular tourism destinations, is forming a National Tourism Councils Advocacy Alliance (NTCAA). The new body will have its first meeting in Sydney in early December.

“We are often lone voice to State and Federal Governments for a better outcome from tourism,” said Byron Shire Mayor, Simon Richardson. “We will now be joined with a strong chorus of more than 40 councils from around Australia as part of the new alliance.”

The formation of the NTCAA was initiated by Byron Shire Council, with the aim of bringing together local governments to share their experiences on the impact of tourism on their communities. Mayor Richardson said councils from NSW, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory have signed up to attend the first meeting, “which is a good indication that Byron is not the only shire struggling with tourism-related issues.

“It is no secret that Byron Shire is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country and this comes at a price for local residents,” he said.

The latest statistics from Tourism NSW show that in 2016-17 Byron Shire hosted approximately 2.1 million visitors.

“Between 2014-2017 our visitor numbers grew by 50 percent, compared to 8 percent for NSW as a whole, so the impact on our infrastructure, the environment and our community is absolutely immense,” Mayor Richardson said.

“Byron is not the only shire in Australia dealing with these issues and we thought the formation of the Alliance would be a great opportunity to bring councils together to develop ideas, strategies and solutions for our communities.

“Importantly, the Alliance has the potential to be a united voice and there is strength in a loud chorus calling for change rather than Byron Shire Council alone,” he said.

“The Councils interested in joining the Alliance are incredibly diverse – from the City of Sydney and Adelaide to the Torres Shire Council on Thursday Island in far north Queensland. Tourism is an important industry for the Byron Shire and one of our priorities is to find ways of recovering costs from visitors to help us manage the impact on our community.

“One of the roles of the Tourism Advocacy Alliance could be to lobby state and federal governments to recognise the pressure tourism is putting on some local government areas and the communities they serve,” he said.

The inaugural meeting of the Tourism Advocacy Alliance will be chaired by Byron Shire Mayor Simon Richardson at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Sydney on 4 December 2017.

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