DestinationsWorld-class events, new tourist icons and visitor experiences will kickstart New South Wales' recovery plan.

Sydney looks to vivid side of events

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Events like Vivid Sydney have helped to drive NSW's visitor economy by attracting both tourism and business investment. The festival has also become a drawcard for leisure tourists and corporate incentive groups alike.
Events like Vivid Sydney have helped to drive NSW's visitor economy by attracting both tourism and business investment. The festival has also become a drawcard for leisure tourists and corporate incentive groups alike. Photo Credit: Unsplash/Trevor McKinnon

The New South Wales (NSW) Government in Australia has drafted a 10-year recovery roadmap for its visitor economy, with events at its core.

“If Covid-19 has shown us anything, it’s that the visitor economy is everyone’s business — it accounts for almost 300,000 jobs and 110,000 businesses, and is integral to our state’s economy,” said NSW minister for jobs, investment, tourism and Western Sydney, Stuart Ayres.

The refreshed Visitor Economy Strategy 2030 will focus on securing global events, grants and trainings, pushing regional visits, and building new tourism icons and experiences. The goal? A$65 billion (US$49.45 billion) in total visitor expenditure, and a new focus on the day trip market, worth an estimated A$10 billion.

“From regions to roads, planning to precincts, the strategy provides a framework to guide investment and decision-making in the areas of marketing, events, business support, regulations, training and tourism infrastructure,” he said.

Backed by a yearly A$200 million investment, the strategy is built on five core pillars:

1) Invest in world-class events

Expect an accelerated investment in signature sporting and cultural events such as the 10 World Cups and Vivid Sydney, as well as business events, specifically targeting high-value travellers. There'll also be a new focus on nurturing home-grown events, and strengthening event infrastructure.

“We will bolster our reputation for staging premier events including the Australian exclusive production of Hamilton, Vivid Sydney, Disney’s Frozen and we are close to securing the full suite of 10 World Cup sporting events for NSW in 10 years.”

2) Showcase NSW strengths

More will be shown on the incentives front, with funding for new products and experiences that sell the destination's strengths. Programmes will also be launched to digitally transform visitor economy businesses, and enhance visitor experiences. These will be supported by marketing campaigns.

“The NSW Government is already charging ahead to create new tourism experiences and icons such as the new Sydney Fish Market, new sporting stadiums and cultural institutions and world-class walking tracks in regional NSW," Ayres said.

3) Building the brand

New brands will be launched to tell the Sydney and NSW story, based on consumer research. Key messages include enforcing the destination's appeal as a place for study, business and investment.

4) Facilitate growth

Money will be pumped into infrastructure, job creation, industry resilience and sustainability, future planning, and better ways to do business.

Accor Pacific CEO, Simon McGrath, said the strategy provides a solid roadmap which demonstrates the NSW Government’s understanding of how valuable tourism is to the state.

“From an industry point of view, the Visitor Economy Strategy is prepared in a very collaborative way, with a focused approach. As a result it has delivered an incredibly dynamic and strong platform which gives confidence to investors, operators and the industry as a whole. The result of this is that it will bring renewed interest from the private sector into tourism in NSW,” said McGrath.

5) Focus on outcomes

This includes aligning funding and resources towards economic growth and job creation. Annual reports will help to review the strategy, while Visitor Economy Index will investigate new ways of measuring impact and identifying challenges.

Meanwhile, the domestic market remains its primary focus, until international travel resumes. On 28 January, Australia extended its suspension of the Trans-Tasman travel bubble with New Zealand by another 72 hours, after two new cases of the South African Covid-19 variant was found in Auckland.

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