THE NSW Government launched an ambitious program at the Etham Valley Pantry yesterday to double overnight tourism expenditure in NSW by 2020.
The Minister for Tourism, the Arts and Major Events, George Souris, alongside the Minister for Local Government and the North Coast, Don Page and Lismore MP Thomas George, announced the plan backed with $21.6m funding - a record $6m boost on the previous level of regional tourism funding.
Mr Souris highlighted the fact that two of his portfolios, tourism and the arts, are among our biggest growth industries in terms of employment Australia-wide, particularly on the Northern Rivers.
"NSW is, in fact, the tourism leader and by far and away the greatest number of gateway arrivals occur here," he told the gathering of local councillors and tourism stakeholders from across New South Wales.
"We've set ourselves a big goal ... it is an extremely ambitious target and we hope we're going to get there, or get very close to it and we will not be using the excuse - even though I'm going to refer to it now - that the Australian dollar is too high and all the other excuses in the world.
"For us it's about somebody who stays overnight, when they do that we then count the expenditure - we want them to come, stay, and if we can extend them to another day it's even better."
The Regional Visitor Economy Fund program will begin being rolled out from July 1 this year and will provide $11.1m for regional tourism organisations, and another $10.5m to industry associations and local government on a competitive basis.
Destination NSW will begin conducting a series of 13 workshops for tourism stakeholders throughout the state in the coming weeks to explain what the funding is for and how to apply for it.
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