Councils get help on tourism

By JAMIE BROWN jamie.brown@northernstar.com.au

LOCAL councils can get a dollar-for-dollar grant from NSW Tourism, Tourism Minister Matt Brown has announced.

And while the offer was generous, local government was calling for even more assistance at this week's Local Government and Shires Association annual tourism conference in Lismore.

Hosted by Southern Cross University along with Lismore, Kyogle and Richmond Valley councils, the conference attracted more than 150 delegates keen to share ideas on expanding this important local industry.

Richmond Valley Council mayor Charlie Cox said the grant offer was generous and would be useful in expanding Casino's tourism visitor information centre, while Kyogle Council's economic development officer Suzie Coulston said road maintenance and tourist signage would be a priority if the council received any such grant money.

Indians, in particular, were interested in visiting regional areas, with 46,000 coming to NSW in the past year spending $1.15m, Mr Brown told the conference. Chinese visitor numbers, by comparison, were skyrocketing.

Currently two jumbo jets arrive every day in Sydney filled with Chinese tourists.

The passengers on each jet will spend approximately $1m. The number of Chinese visitors was expected to increase a staggering 75 per cent by 2010.



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