Media Release: Inclusive Tourism Focus at LGNSW Conference

13 March 2017

More than 200 tourism delegates will today descend on the Manning Entertainment Centre as the Local Government NSW (LGNSW) Annual Tourism Conference kicks off in Taree, on NSW’s Mid North Coast.
LGNSW President Keith Rhoades said regional and rural tourism injected $14.4 billion into the state’s economy each year, accounting for around 84,600 jobs in rural and regional NSW.
“NSW’s cities are known worldwide, but our regions are increasingly carving out their own tourism identities based on pristine environments, rich natural and cultural heritage, and magnificent food and wine offerings,” Clr Rhoades said.
“As a key enabler and driver of local tourism, local government works closely with operators, government and key agencies such as the Office of Environment and Heritage and the National Parks and Wildlife Service.”
The LGNSW President welcomed both Tourism Minister Adam Marshall and Disability Minister Ray Williams to the Conference, and commended their work to leverage the tourism dollar for the ultimate benefit of local communities.
The new Government has delivered significant tourism funding packages for NSW: a $300 million regional and rural tourism infrastructure package announced last week, and a desperately-needed funding push to support inclusive and accessible tourism.
Clr Rhoades said the growth of inclusive tourism was unlocking services, attractions and events for people with disabilities as well as their carers and families. 
“In NSW there is a strong demand for reliable, up-to-date information on accessible tourism opportunities, and the ageing population means the demand will only grow,” Clr Rhoades said. 
“That’s why it is so important to make real progress now.
“Councils are already playing a critical role in supporting inclusive local tourism, and LGNSW is delighted to work collaboratively with the State Government to accelerate this work.”
He also commended the Disability Minister for backing an upcoming project to help councils and operators share information about the accessibility and inclusiveness of destinations and events.
Minister Williams said the benefits of inclusive tourism extended to the entire community, via job creation and business growth.
“I am proud of the steps our Government has made to advance disability inclusion in NSW, particularly in partnership with local councils,” he said.
Clr Rhoades said delegates were also keen to hear further detail from the Tourism Minister on the newly-announced funding package for regional tourism.
Mr Marshall said the NSW Government has committed to a new $300 million Regional Growth – Environment and Tourism Fund.
“We are entering an exciting time for tourism in rural and regional NSW, with the new $300 million fund being the single largest investment ever from a State Government and reflecting our renewed focus on attracting more people to visit, enjoy and invest in rural and regional areas like Taree,” Mr Marshall said.
The Conference will run for two days, and include sessions on Visitor Information Centres, heritage and environmental tourism. Delegates will also learn the outcomes of Destination NSW’s Regional Review, and hear from TripAdvisor about the use of data in destination marketing.
Media Enquiries
LGNSW President, Cr Keith Rhoades AFSM: 0408 256 405
Media Toni Allan: 0412 774 441