NSW unveils its grand plan to kickstart visitor economy

Aerial view of bridge along cliff edge and ocean with traffic. Sea Cliff Bridge view on sunrise. Illawarra, New South Wales, Australia

NSW’s Minister for Tourism has outlined a new plan to help promote industry recovery and turbocharge the state’s visitor economy.

The plan, Visitor Economy Strategy 2030, launched by NSW Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres, aims to drive growth through securing world-class events, boosting regional visitation and building new tourism icons and visitor experiences for the future.

“If COVID-19 has shown us anything, it’s that the visitor economy is everyone’s business – it accounts for almost 300,000 jobs and 110,000 businesses, and is integral to our state’s economy,” Ayres said.

“NSW is the largest visitor economy in Australia and this strategy is a roadmap to rebuild our $43 billion visitor economy and grow it to $65 billion by 2030 to become the premier visitor economy of the Asia-Pacific.

“From regions to roads, planning to precincts, the strategy provides a framework to guide investment and decision-making in the areas of marketing, events, business support, regulations, training and tourism infrastructure.”

The strategy – prepared by Destination NSW through extensive stakeholder consultation with industry and government – features these 2030 targets:

  • To reach $65 billion in total visitor expenditure, up on the previous overnight visitor expenditure target of $55 billion by 2030 which was set in 2018.
  • A new focus on the day trip market, worth an estimated $10 billion by 2030.
  • Growing opportunities in regional NSW as a key to the future, to contribute $25 billion total.
  • The domestic market will be the primary focus until international travel resumes.

“The Visitor Economy Strategy is not just about recovery – it’s about the future,” Ayres said.

“We will bolster our reputation for staging premier events, including the Australian exclusive production of Hamilton, Vivid Sydney, Disney’s Frozen and we are close to securing the full suite of 10 world cup sporting events for NSW in 10 years.”

A Senior Officers Group will be established to coordinate funding and government services relating to the visitor economy, while Destination NSW will lead a coordinated, whole-of-government approach to implementing the strategy.

Dean Long, CEO of the Accommodation Association, said the plan is a critical step in the recovery of NSW’s tourism sector.

“We welcome the commitment to a visitor economy index, which will ensure that outcomes are tracked and reported ensuring the strategy and implementation can be adjusted accordingly,” he said.

“The Accommodation Association looks forward to working closely with the NSW government and Destination NSW  to deliver on the plan for the accommodation sector in NSW.”

Tourism Accommodation Australia’s CEO Michael Johnson also welcomed the plan, saying the revised 2030 Visitor Economy Strategy takes into consideration the impact of the 2020 summer bushfires and the ongoing damage inflicted by COVID-19 restrictions.

“The recovery ahead will be long and difficult but will certainly be made easier with a strong plan and a clear vision for the rebuilding process,” Johnson said.

Featured image source: iStock/Katharina13

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