Global financial crisis creates local tourism opportunities

By Angela Dorizas

New South Wales councils and tourism operators have been advised to take advantage of the global economic downturn as local tourists choose to travel closer to home.

NSW Minister for Tourism Jodie Mackay today told delegates at the fifth annual Local Government Tourism Conference, held in the South Coast town of Kiama, that industry and government would need to work together to boost the number of visitors to NSW and create new jobs.

“Tourism growth is critical to the survival of local communities across NSW,” Mackay said.

“We want to see an additional 23,000 jobs in NSW by 2016, and we have a target of 160.6M visitor nights by 2016.

“We are working closely with local councils, planners and industry to address infrastructure requirements.”

NSW Shires Association president Cr Bruce Miller sent a similar message to conference attendees, encouraging them to grab hold of local tourism opportunities.

“Less Australians will be travelling overseas, so there is a huge opportunity there for us to develop our internal tourism industry,” Cr Miller said.

“There are also plenty of opportunities through the Federal Government’s infrastructure stimulus package.

“Councils have opportunity to identify projects that need to be brought forward and completed, and we can do that using stimulus.”

Cr Miller urged councils and tourism operators to work together to identify gaps in infrastructure and renewal that could be filled by state and federal funding.

“We can only do this with true partnerships,” he said, adding that the relationship between the various spheres of government in strengthening NSW tourism had never been better.

Organised by the NSW Local Government and Shires Associations and hosted by Kiama Municipal Council, the three day conference includes a number of prominent speakers from government and industry, including Tourism NSW executive director Lyndel Gray, Department of State and Regional Development senior manager of innovation, Jason Scattolin, and associate professor of tourism policy and planning at Southern Cross University, Dr Dianne Dredge.

For more information visit the conference website.

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