IT’S already one of the region’s most valuable industries and now Tamworth is moving to make sure everyone has access to it.
Councils from across the state came together recently for the Annual Tourism Conference, hosted by the Local Government NSW (LGNSW) in Taree, including two delegates from Destination Tamworth.
A council spokesperson said they came away from the conference seeking to boost different facets of local tourism, including improving disabled access, as well as indigenous and cultural tourism.
“We saw it as a valuable opportunity to build upon our understanding of differing markets and audiences, and ways to promote the role of local government in tourism and economic development,” a council spokesperson said.
Figures from 2014/15 revealed the Tamworth Local Government Area (LGA) brought in more than $222 million through tourism and hospitality sales.
More recently, the LGA counted 481,902 “international visitor nights” in Tamworth in the 2015/16 financial year, accounting for 23.9 per cent of the total visitor nights.
But this year’s conference was looking a lot closer to home for growth with the theme “tourism is everybody’s business”.
There were a number of “areas of importance” to the growth of tourism in the Tamworth region addressed at the conference.
Making destinations more accessible was a key theme, while developing and improving indigenous tourism and local heritage were also emphasised.
LGNSW President Keith Rhoades said regional and rural tourism injected $14.4 billion into the state’s economy each year, accounting for around 84,600 jobs in rural and regional NSW.
“As a key enabler and driver of local tourism, local government works closely with operators, government and key agencies such as the Office of Environment and Heritage and the National Parks and Wildlife Service,” Cr Rhoades said
“NSW’s cities are known worldwide, but our regions are increasingly carving out their own tourism identities based on pristine environments, rich natural and cultural heritage, and magnificent food and wine offerings.”
In the 12 months to September 2016, regional NSW attracted more than 20 million domestic visitors and 730,000 international tourists.