Tourism sector will welcome grants says Martin

The newly refreshed Beachcomber Hotel and Resort at Toukley

Business NSW Central Coast has welcomed an announcement that the State Government will offer more than $8M in grants across the state to accelerate the recovery of the NSW visitor economy as the state reopens to visitors.

Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney and Minister for Trade and Industry, Stuart Ayres, said the funding would create jobs, enhance the visitor experience, support the return of lifestyle and business events in regional NSW and promote regions as ‘must-visit’ destinations, generating hundreds of millions in visitor expenditure.

“These grants are all about assisting NSW tourism operators and event organisers to develop and deliver the best possible visitor experiences and ensure we are the number one state to visit as we reopen to the world post COVID-19,” Ayres said.

“Whether it’s to upgrade the standard of accommodation, develop an entirely new visitor experience, stage conferences and regional events, or deliver a compelling destination marketing campaign, these grants will ensure NSW remains top-of-mind for all types of visitors.”

Business NSW Central Coast Regional Director, Paula Martin, said businesses on the Coast would welcome the funding.

“As the industry starts the steep climb back after a challenging 18-month period, encouraging families across NSW to get out and explore the Central Coast should be the region’s primary focus helping the visitor economy make up ground lost due to lockdown,” Martin said.

“Council, industry associations and business need to work together to create a strong tourism identity and a serious regional attraction strategy as the competition for regional visits surrounding Sydney will be fierce.

“As the weather warms, businesses need to have confidence to relaunch themselves with updated tourism and accommodation product following a hibernation during lockdown.

“The uncertainty of snap lockdowns has crippled the tourism industry; this new funding will allow business to start planning today for a cracking 2022.

“This will in turn encourage more visitor spending, providing social and economic benefits to our towns who have tourism and events as a key source of income.

“The Coast tourism industry needs to show our fellow NSW residents that the visitor economy is #backtobusiness so it’s time to roll out the welcome mat and be ready for the arrival of visitors.”

The grants will be delivered through Destination NSW.

The $8.35M will be delivered through the following programs: a $4.1M Tourism Product Development Fund – to support regional accommodation renewal and new visitor experiences; a $1.5M Regional Event Fund – to support new and flagship regional events; a $2M Co-operative Marketing Program – leveraging Destination NSW’s new Feel New marketing campaign; and a $750,000 Regional Business Event Development Fund – to create, attract and support new business events for regional NSW.

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Terry Collins