New regional tourism organisation to be based in Gosford

Scott MacDonald Scott MacDonaldScott MacDonald

The NSW Government’s announcement that it will base the headquarters of the new Destination Sydney Surrounds regional tourism organisation in Gosford has been welcomed by Central Coast Council.

NSW Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast, Mr Scot MacDonald, said he had been lobbying for the past 18 months for the headquarters to be based out of the Central Coast Council’s Smart Work Hub in Gosford.

Expressions of interest were called to determine the best location for the headquarters and Mr MacDonald said he believed the hub stood out from the rest. “They presented very well and they have a very proactive management in a modern working environment,” he said. Mr MacDonald said there were no plans to move the headquarters to the State Finance Offi ce when it was built on the former Gosford Public School land. The newly-appointed General Manager of Sydney Surrounds North, Mr Glenn Caldwell, and two supporting offi cers, would be located at the Gosford hub. Mr MacDonald said that placement of Destination Network Sydney Surrounds North in Gosford was the most logical area for the headquarters.

“It is good in Gosford, it’s a good place to be, it’s a good position, it ticks all the boxes,” he said. He said it was optimal because all parts of the new regional tourism organisation were within just over two hours reach from Gosford. Chair of the Destination Network Sydney Surrounds North, Mr David Fellows, said he had confi dence in the appointment of Mr Caldwell as General Manager, as he was a successful manager who could deliver results to the region. “Mr Caldwell comes to this important role with more than 15 years of experience in tourism and major events management, having worked in both corporate and government environments,” Mr Fellows said.

“As Tourism Manager for the Coffs Coast, Mr Caldwell successfully delivered the fi rst regional Destination Management Plan, including a review of visitor services, tourism rebrand and the delivery of a comprehensive major event strategy, so we are delighted to have him on board,” he said. Scot MacDonald said the headquarters was a move in the right direction for tourism on the Central Coast. “It’s about bringing in new events, tourist partners and different visitors,” Mr MacDonald said. “We have to do more than just do what we do well, it’ll be about multi-nights instead of just one night.

“Not enough tourists are getting out of Sydney or going into different parts of the state, so the tourism agencies and contractors both here and overseas are confi dent in the extra tourism activities,” he said. This move by the NSW government and the Central Coast Council is aimed to contribute to future promotion and overall growth of the Central Coast. “It’s at all levels, on the small level as small businesses and up to the largest levels. “Their job is to bring in new business and extra jobs,” Mr MacDonald said. “Tourism is worth $844 million to the Central Coast and it is projected to increase, so any support we can give to help drive those numbers up is great news for the Central Coast.

“With Sydney Surrounds North stretching from the Blue Mountains to the Upper Hunter, more activity across our region means more jobs and boosted local economies, and we look forward to working with the Destination Network team to drive further overnight visitation,” he said. Council Administrator, Mr Ian Reynolds, said it was an exciting time for the growth and development of the Central Coast. “This is particularly so when combined with Council’s increased investment in tourism marketing and industry services, the recent appointment of new providers to deliver this, a new Destination Management Plan, and the advent of a new marketing approach to implement it,” he said.

“We are working towards delivering more for the region,” Mr Reynolds said. Council’s Group Leader Connected Communities, Ms Julie Vaughan, said the location of the headquarters recognised and acknowledged the Central Coast as a signifi cant tourist destination in NSW. “Tourism is a major industry on the Central Coast, employing over 12,500 people and generating over $900m a year for the regional economy,” Ms Vaughan said.

“The passion and commitment of the Coast’s tourism industry is great. “There is a high level of enthusiasm about the new direction for tourism on the Central Coast.” Mr MacDonald said he acknowledged and thanked the Central Coast Council for being proactive, and thanked Mr Fellows and his board for seeing that Gosford was the best and most logical area for the headquarters.

Source: Media release, Jul 21 Central Coast Council media Media release, Jul 21 Kit Hale, office of Scot MacDonald Interview, Jul 21 Scot MacDonald, Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast Hannah Moore, journalist