Funding boost for regional tourism
NORTHERN Rivers tourism operators are expected to benefit from a $6 million increase in funding for regional tourism announced today by the NSW Government.
NSW Tourism Minister George Souris said the government had increased funding for regional tourism promotion to $21.6 million over the next three years.
"This major reform to funding will take the promotion of regional tourism to another level," Mr Souris was quoted saying in a statement.
"The annual funding is provided in two streams. The first, $11.1m is for regional tourism organisations and the second, $10.5m for product development and marketing promotions of the regions.
"Tourism to regional NSW is vital to rebuilding the NSW economy. Visitor expenditure in regional NSW was worth more than $12.8 billion in 2012, an increase of more than three per cent compared to the previous year."
Tourism is particularly important on the Northern Rivers, particularly in the Byron Shire where it is the biggest industry. Across the entire Ballina electorate, hospitality industries account for the second and third biggest employers, following education services. The industry is less dominant, but still significant in the neighbouring Lismore and Tweed electorates, where cafes and restaurants are the third and second biggest employers, respectively.
Mr Souris said the increased funding was part of a broader action plan aimed at boosting tourism and also including a series of reforms, including:
- Regional Destination Management Plans being mandatory to apply for allocations from the Regional Visitor Economy Fund
- The opportunity to apply for both marketing and product development funding
- Stronger performance measurement and reporting requirements.