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Major tourism funding boost for NSW

Sydney Harbour tourists EDITED

The Baird Government has recognised the crucial role of the visitor economy in NSW, committing an additional AUD$123.35 million in funding to help secure more major events and boost visitor expenditure by an estimated AUD$481 million.

The news has been welcomed by the Accor and also the Tourism and Transport Forum(TTF).

Accor Chief Operating Officer, Simon McGrath has come out in support of the Baird Government’s Tourism and Major Events pre-election policy to double overnight visitor expenditure by the year 2020 and make Sydney the number one destination for major events.

McGrath has welcomed the pledge for an additional AUD$123.35 million to secure more major events in a bid to bolster visitor expenditure in NSW by an estimated AUD$481 million and said it will give Sydney the competitive edge over other state capitals and major event cities in Asia Pacific.

“Pleasingly the Baird Government understands that tourism has moved into the top three of economic contributors in most countries worldwide, and this is further supported by the 2013 Deloitte Report – ‘Positioning for prosperity? Catching the next wave’ stating that tourism is among the top five super-growth industries in Australia,” McGrath said.

“The Baird Government has cleverly shown that tourism continues to be a priority for the State and that there is a clear vision to significantly deliver more economic and employment benefits for the region.

“Events are no longer optional extras in tourism, in fact they are the number one way to stimulate a dynamic tourism market. The momentum in Sydney now is impressive and competitive on an international scale, so with the commitments from the Baird Government and Destination NSW it is sure to underpin a decade ahead of strong tourism growth.

“Sydney is now well placed to far exceed major event activities in any of the other states and subsequently will lead the growth and possibly even take market share.

“Investors in Australian tourism have also shown their confidence in the Baird Government by way of announcing new developments that will take shape over the next two years including the iconic 600-room ICC Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour hotel by Dr Jerry Schwartz and the Pullman Sydney Airport hotel with The Goodman Group.

“There’s no doubt that major draw card events and large scale conferences produce tens of millions of dollars to benefit the local economy, but without future investment to secure such events it’s easy for Sydney to fall behind its competitors.

“We applaud the Baird Government’s plans to increase funding to attract more conventions, sporting and cultural events to Western Sydney and attract high-yielding tourists from key source markets such as China and the USA. This budget commitment will play a vital role in supporting overnight visitation to Sydney and regional areas over quieter months, and in the end, benefit the whole Australian economy,” McGrath said.

Accor is the largest operator of hotels in NSW with over 30 hotels in Sydney and over 60 properties across the state, ranging from economy ibis to luxury Sofitel hotel brands.

TTF Chief Executive Margy Osmond said, “This announcement shows the NSW government understands the vital importance of tourism to this state. Already, in NSW tourism supports more than 267,000 jobs, 158,000 of these directly. This means nearly 1 in every 14 jobs in the state relies on a strong visitor economy.

“Importantly, the benefit is not confined to Sydney. Tourism provides employment opportunity up and down the state, in regional areas and in cities. Regional NSW stands to gain a great deal from this announcement, with a renewed focus on securing major events, conferences and sporting events in our regional centres.

“NSW has set a new national benchmark for the states and the commonwealth. This proactive investment in tourism will reap significant rewards for that state. We encourage others to follow the NSW example and properly invest in a true growth industry.”

“TTF is particularly pleased to see the focus on major events. Major events are a key driver in the decision to visit NSW from interstate or abroad. They act as the ‘cherry on top’ of an already world-class destination.

“Major events act as a great advertisement for the state. Just think how many people around the world tuned in to the Asia Cup and saw how much Sydney has to offer, how exciting it is to attend events like this in our city.

“They also attract high spending visitors who spread their money across the economy – on accommodation, attractions, transport, restaurants and retail.

“TTF also welcomes the government’s focus on business events. From December 2016, NSW will be home to one of the premier integrated convention and exhibition centres in the Asia Pacific – the International Convention Centre Sydney. The proper funding of Business Events Sydney will ensure the true economic value of that investment is realised.

“Tourism is a sound investment, and this announcement shows the Premier and Deputy Premier understand that. At a time when the mining investment boom is waning, when heavy manufacturing is continuing to decline, Australians are looking to industries that can deliver sustainable growth and jobs across the state, well into the future. The visitor economy is a natural fit and this investment confirms its importance to the state,” Osmond said.

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