When Adam Marshall launched a specialised tourism plan at Old Dubbo Gaol this week he used a Churchillian turn of phrase, describing the thick document as the ‘End of the Beginning’.
Mr Marshall, the NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events, said plenty of work has been done behind the scenes to design a roadmap for western tourism success, but that the hard work of implementing and sticking to the plan was ahead of us all.
“We have to put away parochialism and think more about promoting and marketing destinations rather than individual townships or individual shires,” he said candidly.
“And that can be hard because I’ve sat around a council table, I’ve been a mayor of a local council, and it’s a lot of fun bashing up your neighbours, puffing out your chest and saying ‘we’re awesome, they’re bad, people need to come and see us and not go there’,” Mr Marshall said.
“The reality is, the modern tourist, whether they’re international or domestic visitors, doesn’t care about your parochialism or my parochialism, they’re interested in the visitor experience. They don’t see boundaries on maps, they don’t see one town versus another, they see multiple experiences.
“We need to make sure that we are thinking about the whole and not our own patch, that is the only way that we will ensure that all of the actions that have been researched and agreed to throughout this vast network are actually able to be achieved,” he said.
Member for Dubbo Troy Grant, a former tourism minister, said the plan would facilitate growth in the region’s visitor economy at a local level.
“Our region is one of the most popular holiday destinations in NSW, our tourism attractions and experiences are unique, and it’s important that they are marketed as such,” Mr Grant said.
“This plan is about supporting our destination to grow and sustain the visitor economy through developing assets, infrastructure, attractions and world-class experiences, which connect visitors to our region.
“When our tourism industry is thriving our towns are thriving, and I look forward to welcoming more visitors to our region so that our local tourism operators, hotels, restaurants and boutiques reap the benefits,” Mr Grant told the launch.
The NSW Government established six Destination Networks last year in a commitment to focus on rural and regional tourism.