Draft Tourism Strategy open for comment

Feedback is sought to strengthen tourism on the Coffs Coast.

THE City of Coffs Harbour is seeking residents’ input to its Draft Tourism Strategy to help further enhance the region’s economy by focussing on strengthening the tourism sector, building resilience and discovering new opportunities.

Natalia Cowley, the City of Coffs Harbour’s General Manager, said, “Since the Coffs Coast was declared NSW’s first ever ECO Destination, the region’s profile as a great place to create unique holiday experiences and memories has grown all around the world.

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“The City’s latest Tourism Strategy aims to capture the latest travel trends to continue to grow an industry that generates more than $282m every year for the region.”

The four key focus areas underpinning the Draft Strategy are: tourism marketing, visitor information and branding; tourism asset and infrastructure planning; festivals and events; and visitor economy, business support and visitor servicing.

The Draft Strategy identifies key drivers for the future of tourism and government funding opportunities including sustainable travel (such as the Eco-Destination Accreditation), experiential, transformative, wellness and adventure travel, multi-generational and accessible travel, personalisation of experiences, food and beverage tourism and business events and events tourism.

An independent study of the effectiveness of the current ‘visitor servicing model’ was part of the development of the Draft Strategy

Information provided to visitors by the City includes seven face-to-face Visitor Information Outlets across the local government area, a Visitor Information phone line, a Coffs Coast destination website, visitor information pop-ups at events, social media posts and messenger service, and 70+ visitor map/brochure points across the Coffs Coast and beyond.

The City also provides up-to-date information and resources for visitor economy businesses to share with customers.

According to the City, a total of 1.3 million people visited the Coffs Coast in 2022 and an average of 270,000 people visit the Coffs Coast destination website annually.

Current foot traffic data shows an average of 14,060 visits – around one percent of all visitors – across the seven Visitor Information Outlets annually, while the former Visitor Information Centre had just over 9,640 annual visits.

In 2017 the cost to operate the VIC was $300,000 per year and it now costs the City $28,000 a year to support the seven Visitor Information Outlets.

The draft documents are available for public consultation and feedback until September 29 2023.

They can be viewed, and submissions made via the City’s ‘Have Your Say’ website at haveyoursay.coffsharbour.nsw.gov.au/tourism-strategic-plan

Submissions can also be made by emailing coffs.council@chcc.nsw.gov.au or mailing to Locked Bag 155, Coffs Harbour NSW 2450

By Andrew VIVIAN

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