A NSW voucher program would incentivise locals to experience their own city while helping local businesses.

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NSW received more than one million international youth visitors in the year ending June 2014, the only Australian State to achieve the milestone.

NSW also continued to receive the greatest share of visitor numbers, nights and expenditure, said Acting Premier and Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Andrew Stoner.

According to the latest International Visitor Survey (IVS):
-Youth nights to NSW increased to 43.2 million, up 4.1 per cent (in comparison youth nights to Victoria and Queensland declined by 2.4 million and 1.7 million nights respectively).
-NSW accounted for more than half of all international visitors to Australia for the year ending June 2014, receiving 3.1 million overseas visitors.
-Visitor expenditure in NSW was up 6.1 per cent to $6.9 billion, well above Victoria with $4.89 billion and Queensland with $3.97 billion.
-NSW continued to lead the nation in visitor nights, with 74.8 million nights in the past year, an increase of 6.6 per cent (in comparison, Victoria achieved growth of less than one per cent and Queensland had negative growth for the same period).
-The key drivers of expenditure growth in NSW were the Holiday (up 8.5 per cent), Visiting Friends and Relatives (up 13.2 per cent) and Education (up 5.5 per cent) market segments, as well as visitation from China (up 13 per cent) and the United Kingdom (up 11 per cent).

“These figures confirm NSW’s position as the number one State in Australia to visit,” Stoner said.

“We are leading the nation in tourism and the NSW Government is working hard to secure future growth in both domestic and international visitors to Sydney and NSW.

“We have set an ambitious target of doubling overnight visitor expenditure in NSW by 2020, and we are determined to meet that goal,” he said.

Stoner said NSW’s outstanding events calendar, as well as the success of targeted marketing campaigns and industry partnerships, was helping contribute to the NSW tourism industry’s strong growth.

“There’s no doubt events like Vivid Sydney, the Sydney Royal Easter Show, Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour, as well as the recent Juventus game in NSW appeal to a variety of international, interstate and local visitors, helping to drive tourism to the State,” Stoner said.

“Great regional events, such as Deni Blues & Roots Festival, the National Cutting Horse Association Futurity in Tamworth, the Ironman Australia Port Macquarie and Hunter Valley Food and Wine Month, also give people even more reasons to explore further afield.

“Sydney is also a major destination in the Asia Pacific for lucrative business events. The NSW Government is cementing that reputation with construction underway to build Australia’s largest fully integrated exhibition and convention facilities at ICC Sydney in Darling Harbour.

“Initiatives to target the growing youth market have included Destination NSW’s popular Chief Funster campaign, which demonstrated why NSW is the most fun place on earth, and major international partnerships such as working with STA Travel to promote NSW work, study and play opportunities to youth travellers in USA, UK, Germany, Singapore and Japan.

“We will continue to ensure NSW is the number one tourism and major events destination in Australia,” he said.

James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management