NSW Visitor Economy Taskforce report released

10 August 2012

George Souris launches the Visitor Economy Taskforce report

The independent report developed by the Visitor Economy Taskforce, aimed at doubling overnight visitor expenditure to NSW by 2020, was released on August 10.

Taskforce members Russell Balding AO, the Hon. Bruce Baird AM, John King OAM, and Sandra Chipchase, CEO of Destination NSW, produced a substantial report of nearly 200 pages containing 48 recommendations and a total of 171 proposed actions.

The Taskforce consulted widely with industry including 14 separate industry sector advisory groups involving 319 participants, conducting over 40 meetings with peak industry associations and organisations, convening several regional workshops and receiving and assessing 91 written submissions from across the State.

Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Hospitality and Racing and Minister for the Arts, George Souris, said the report provides a blueprint for the NSW Government and industry to work together to reinvigorate one of the State's most important industries.

"The Visitor Economy Taskforce has given a straight and honest assessment of the State's tourism industry," Mr Souris said.

"The Taskforce has clearly identified that the way forward is more than demand driven or a clever advertising campaign.

"It will require a focus on the supply side including essential tourism infrastructure.

"Like so much of our economy our tourism future very much lies in Eastern markets, the foremost being China.

"Our target to double overnight visitor expenditure to NSW by 2020 would mean a $36 billion boost to the State's economy.

"It's a goal we are determined to achieve as part of our plans to rebuild the NSW economy.

"The NSW Government will be providing a full response to the Visitor Economy Report that not only maximises the economic benefits of the international visitor economy for our global city, Sydney, but, just as importantly, our regional communities."

Mr Souris said the NSW Government has begun some of the work laid out in the report, including the project to deliver the world class Sydney International Convention, Exhibition and Entertainment Precinct and the establishment and funding of Destination NSW.

He said the Government is determined to rebuild the NSW economy by supporting tourism, business and major events.

"Visitor expenditure in NSW alone contributes over $20 billion to the State's economy, supports more than 159,000 jobs and over 96,200 businesses," Mr Souris said.

"But our visitor economy is much bigger when you take into account the flow-on benefits it has on the broader economy through employment, investment and export growth, for example.

"Already the Government is working to target new growth in our visitor economy with the 2012-13 NSW Budget committing $125 million a year to Destination NSW's activities for the next four years to help rebuild the NSW economy by supporting tourism, business conferences and major events.

"For example, Destination NSW will invest more than $2 million in the coming year alone to target the extraordinary growth in visitor numbers from China, which is currently worth $1.2 billion to the State's economy and forecast to increase 110 per cent by 2020."

Copies of the report are available at www.trade.nsw.gov.au/business-and-industry-in-nsw/key-industry-sectors/tourism/industry-action-plan-tourism.