Central Coast Council is poised to re-set the region as a major tourist destination, following a successful motion from Councillor Bruce McLachlan at its September 14 meeting.
Cleaning up gateways to the Coast and making sure public litter bins are regularly cleared will be just two of the measures taken to prepare the Coast for an influx of visitors expected over the coming holidays periods.
The motion called for Council to recognise the “never before opportunity the current interstate and overseas travel restrictions have presented” for re-setting the Coast as a tourism destination.
It called for adequate promotion of the region and attention to gate way entries with untidy, litter strewn, overgrown road-side verges, and graffiti ridden public areas which do not create a positive image.
It also called for the CEO to write to local MPs asking for State owned assets to be tidied and to make sure sufficient resources are made available to address overflowing bins at the Coast’s beaches and reserves.
Cr McLachlan told fellow councillors Council should get on the front foot and get itself sorted for summer.
“COVID-19 travel restrictions to popular Australian destinations such as Queensland and Bali have now given local tourism the opportunity for many first time and previous visitors returning to the Central Coast,” he said in a note supporting the motion.
“We may well see 2020 visitation, especially day visitation, return to the Central Coast glory days of yesteryear.
“There have been few positives come from COVID-19, and 2020 as a year has been extraordinarily challenging, however domestic tourism may be the one benefit we can as a region, going forward, take advantage of.”
He was supported by Councillor Troy Marquart.
“Tourism is a massive positive for us,” Cr Marquart said.
“We need to grab this opportunity right now.”
The motion was carried unanimously.
Meanwhile, Mayor Lisa Matthews hosted a Summertime 2020/21 Tourism and COVID-19 Safety Roundtable on September 16 to discuss tourism opportunities and COVID safe practices.
“With surrounding state borders currently closed it is anticipated there will be an influx of visitors coming to the coast and we want to ensure we are providing visitors opportunities and prepared in the current climate of COVID-19,” Cr Matthews said.
“The roundtable brought together representatives from Central Coast Local Health District, Destination Sydney Surrounds, Business NSW, Clubs NSW, NSW Police and Council staff.
“(We discussed) ways we can collectively support local businesses during the holiday period, manage crowds, pop up COVID testing clinics, beach patrols and promoting our region.
“There are currently 2,191 Central Coast businesses that are COVID-safe registered.
“Data from the Australian Hotels Association indicates all weekend accommodation in the lead up to Christmas, as well as all accommodation over the Christmas period on the Coast, is currently very near capacity.
“Council will continue to liaise with NSW Police, Central Coast LHD and Business NSW throughout the holiday period and reconvene roundtable discussions after the September school holidays in preparation for the Christmas holiday season.
“We want to assure the businesses and the community that we are with them and committed to working together to boost the local economy whilst keeping people safe.”