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Australia’s NSW gov’t finally delivers on tourism

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Christine Khan  Jun 12, 2008

SYDNEY, Australia (eTN) - The New South Wales (NSW) tourism industry has warmly welcomed the government's $40 million in new funding over three years towards the NSW Tourism Industry.

"Today’s funding announcement, together with the release of the O'Neill Report into NSW tourism and the announcement of the development of a NSW Tourism Plan will give new hope and impetus to the entire NSW tourism industry," said Ken Corbett, acting Chair of Tourism Industry Council NSW (TICNSW).

TICNSW represents over 10,000 businesses across the $30 billion NSW tourism industry and as the peak industry association incorporates members including industry sector associations, regional tourism organizations, local government tourist offices and major tourist attractions and suppliers.

"The industry welcomes today's announcement as a direct and unequivocal response to the demand from across our industry for a renewal of the NSW government's commitment to tourism after 15 years of neglect," said Mr. Corbett.

"The industry showed its united purpose last year by producing a report under the banner of The Tourism Business Alliance, which incorporated all major players in the NSW tourism industry. Today's announcements are a welcome response to the needs outlined in that report, and whilst today's success will have many fathers, it truly does belong to a united and forward looking NSW tourism industry," said Mr. Corbett.

"The NSW tourism industry looks forward to working with Minister Matt Brown and the Iemma government in developing the plan to ensure the growth of the NSW tourism industry over the next decade," said Mr. Corbett.

The $40 million funding boost has been welcomed by the Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC), which said the move would help boost a sector which is suffering in the current tough economic climate.

ATEC managing director Matt Hingerty said in a press release that the funding boost, announced today with the release of the O’Neill Review into tourism, was a wise move by a government which had listened to the advice of tourism industry groups such as ATEC.

“The extra $40 million announced by the Iemma government for the tourism industry is a great investment in a sector which is struggling under the burdens of soaring fuel costs, increased federal government taxation, the high dollar and troubled global economic forecasts,” Mr. Hingerty said.

“This announcement is a signal that the New South Wales government understands the industry’s plight.

“In particular I welcome the focus on promoting Sydney as Australia’s iconic tourist destination. For Australia to be successful Sydney has to be successful, therefore this strategy is in the national interest,” Mr. Hingerty said.

According to Tourism Australia’s International Visitors Survey December 2007, the inbound tourism industry is worth $5.8 billion annually to the New South Wales economy. Tourism businesses contribute more than 185,000 jobs, or nearly six per cent of all employment in the state*.

Mr. Hingerty said that in recent years the NSW tourism sector had lagged behind that of other states, with its share of national domestic visitation and visitor expenditure falling.

“The NSW tourism industry has been underfunded for years, with tourism budget
expenditure in the state amongst the lowest in all Australian states and territories,” Mr. Hingerty said. “I especially support the increased emphasis on regional and international tourism and the new focus on high-value tourism segments.

“This is the first step in the right direction to attracting high-spending foreign tourists back to New South Wales. The government has given us a lifeline – now it’s up to the industry to make the most of it,” Mr. Hingerty said.

Mr. Hingerty thanked John O’Neill for his hard work in developing the strategy, of which he said ATEC would closely study before releasing detailed comment.
The NSW government decision to boost tourism funding was in response to a report issued last year by the NSW Tourism Industry Council, of which ATEC is a member.

*Tourism Business Alliance: Submission to the Review of Tourism in New South Wales ; August 2007

Australia’s NSW gov’t finally delivers on tourism
Photo by Nelson Alcantara

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