New NSW tourism minister expresses support for industry and regional tourism

In his first major event as the NSW minister for tourism & major events, Adam Marshall, delivered a ringing endorsement for the potential of the industry, making special reference to the commitment of the government in developing regional tourism across the state.

Minister Marshall was the special guest at Tourism Accommodation Australia NSW’s Chairman’s Function, which heralds in the year for the state’s tourism and hospitality industry. The event was held at the recently-renovated Radisson Blu Sydney.

The function was attended by representatives of the tourism industry’s leading organisations including chair of Tourism Australia, Tony South, CEO of Destination NSW, Sandra Chipchase, and CEO of Business Events Sydney, Lyn Lewis Smith.

Chair of TAA NSW, Peter Tudehope, said the presence of the new minister was significant as it allowed the industry to reinforce the economic importance of the accommodation sector, which is the dominant player in the NSW tourism industry, generating $2.2 billion GVA though direct impacts and $4.5 billion through flow-on impacts, as well as employing over 21,000 people directly and indirectly supporting a further 44,000 jobs.

Mr Tudehope said that on the back of sustained strong performance by the industry and the launch of major new tourism infrastructure such as ICC Sydney, the accommodation industry had embarked on the largest-ever hotel development and upgrading phase in its history.

“The most comprehensive revitalisation of the Sydney’s hotel sector is currently underway, which will transform the city’s tourism infrastructure,” said Mr Tudehope.

“Already $2.3 billion worth of hotel projects have been approved for the Sydney city area, with a further $1.9 billion of projects proposed and in advanced stages of planning. This development phase has extended well beyond the CBD to the airport and western Sydney.”

Mr Tudehope pointed to the potential of the industry to produce jobs and growth by highlighting the recent announcement that tourism receipts officially passed coal exports for the first time. He said that while accommodation providers appreciated the elevation of the sector as a first-tier industry, investors required confidence that their investments would be sustainable in the long-term.

“TAA commends the commonwealth and NSW government on their recognition of the importance of the visitor economy through initiatives such as agreements that maximise airline capacity and investment, improvements in visa processing and accessibility, long term funding of regional destination marketing bodies and the commitment to visitor infrastructure such as the International Convention Centre,” Mr Tudehope said.

“However, to sustain this confidence, governments need to ensure they don’t pick winners and losers in what is a rapidly changing market. The impact of the unfettered rise of unregulated short-term accommodation – under the guise of ‘sharing’ – can’t be underestimated.  We are looking to government to be responsive to the need for transparency of supply through registration and proportionate regulation of ‘commercial operators’ on these online platforms.”

Mr Tudehope welcomed minister Marshall’s commitment to addressing regional tourism issues as many regional areas had not benefited from the tourism boom in the same way as Sydney.

“Seasonality, poor international dispersal and lack of visitor economy infrastructure have resulted in a self-fulfilling prophecy – poor visitation and poor investment,” he said. “We look forward to the formation of the new regional NSW destination structures, which will underpin the rejuvenation of the regional NSW visitor economy.”

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