Main Beach Byron Bay
Main Beach Byron Bay

Spotlight on tourism at Byron thinktank

Friday 3.58pm: AFFORDABLE housing and infrastructure were the main topics of high contention at the Tourism Symposium held at Elements of Byron today.

The forum held was designed to bring industry professionals, local council and business operators to discuss and workshop the future of Byron Tourism.

Representatives from Destination NSW were among attendees as they shared their projections for the Bay and listened to discussions facilitated during the workshops.

Destination Byron President, Peter Wotton said Byron was in a "bubble that is unique" and local businesses, council and tourism organisations need to cater specifically to it's niche market.

"We are such a small shire with such a low rate base, it is very difficult for the council to apply the right infrastructure that is needed here to build low cost housing and infrastructure for our roads," Mr Wotton said.

Destination Byron believe the key strategy to sustain longevity of the Byron Shire tourism industry was dispersal.

"We are looking at implementing strategic measures which will be part of our tourism management plan of dispersal of our visitors throughout the regions."

Keynote speaker at the conference, former mayor of Queenstown, New Zealand, Vanessa van Uden said paying attention to housing and rental affordability "makes a lot more sense".

"The other piece of advice I'd give is even when things slow down don't stop investing in infrastructure because it will speed back up again," Ms van Uden said.

"There are lots of challenges that come with lots of visitors but we can work on this together and it's about actually identifying the (challenges) and learning from other places."

Byron Shire mayor, Simon Richardson said he believes the greatest challenge for the industry was understanding growth in small constrained places will have its issues.

"We need to re-navigate away from growth and quantity and go closer towards a quality of visitor experience that locals can then not just embrace but also live alongside," Cr Richardson said.

The main message to come from the symposium was tourism sustainability was a long-term goal which will not happen overnight.

General Manager, Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism, Liz Price parting message from her presentation was for everyone to "be brave and work together for a long-term solution".

"Things aren't going to happen overnight, I think that is often in a tourism sense that there is a real drive that we want to see results and see things happen tomorrow but it really is a long-term game to think about."

"Especially like here it is all about the natural landscape so how do we make sure what we are doing is protecting the very asset we are trying to sell."


Friday 9.47am: ELEMENTS of Byron will be hosting the fourth Annual Tourism Symposium today to discuss the sustainability of visitor economy in the region.

The symposium will bring together tourism and business operations from the region for keynote speeches and workshops.                                                                                                                                                  

To open the event at 9am, three presentations will be given by industry leaders; Stephen Mahoney (General Manager Regional NSW, Destination NSW), Anthony Laver (General Manager Marketing, Destination NSW), former Queenstown Mayor Vanessa van Uden and Liz Price (General Manager, Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism, to discuss projections, updates and strategies to secure regional tourism in the Bay.

In addition, attendees will have the chance to participate in four workshops. They will be facilitated and debated by local businesses, operators and tourism experts.

The workshop topics will include:

  • Sustainability of the events visitor economy
  • Defining brand 'Byron'
  • Hero's of regional tourism
  • How will Byron tackle quality vs quantity

The event will close with a networking function at 4:15pm, where attendees, speakers and industry leaders can mingle.


Tourism symposium hosted at Elements Byron Bay August 18.
Tourism symposium hosted at Elements Byron Bay August 18.

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