In an assessment of the NSW Government’s performance the tourism sector needs better strategic planning in the cities, as well as clear strategies to draw more visitors to the regions.

In the lead-up to the 2015 State Election, the NSW Business Chamber’s Tourism Industry Division released the NSW Visitor Economy: On the Move campaign document. The agenda was shaped around outstanding items of the 2012 Visitor Economy Industry Action Plan (VEIAP): an industry-led, Government endorsed plan to double overnight visitor expenditure by 2020.

Almost two years have now passed since the Coalition returned to Government. Now is an opportune time for the Chamber’s Tourism Advisory Council (who represent the interests of our Tourism members) to assess the progress toward the priorities in On the Move and set a strategic pathway for the remaining two years of the current term.

Tourism in New South Wales is booming, contributing more than $37 billion to our economy as well over a quarter of a million jobs. Government initiatives such as the State’s record infrastructure pipeline, a robust calendar of events in Sydney, and planning to move a major cultural attraction – the Powerhouse Museum - to Western Sydney have all contributed to our flourishing visitor economy. At the same time, we can’t take the industry’s continued strength for granted. There’s much to be done over the remaining two years of this term of Government.

The Mid-Term Report Card also finds that regional NSW has largely missed out on the tourism boom, with visitors to Sydney failing to extend their trip with a visit to a regional area. Regional areas offer a variety of cultural, food and lifestyle experiences to attract visitors, but tourism operators often lack the necessary support to market their products and understand the needs of consumers from diverse backgrounds.

If the NSW Government is to grow regional tourism, it needs to provide the funding and policy attention that’s needed, starting with a strategy to boost the dispersal of the lucrative Chinese market. 

The NSW Government has an opportunity to continue its agenda and taking up the priorities recommended will leave the lasting legacy of a resilient visitor economy.

View the NSW Visitor Economy On the Move Mid-Term Report Card here.