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Port Macquarie main street.

Port Macquarie to host vital visitor economy conference 

26 May 2021

Port Macquarie will welcome more than 250 tourism professionals to the seaside city today (Wednesday May 26) for a three-day conference designed bring local government staff and councillors together to discuss ways of enhancing the visitor economy and creating new jobs across NSW.

Local Government NSW’s (LGNSW) 2021 Destination and Visitor Economy Conference, an annual event, will expand its scope for the first time and include a strong focus on the major role councils play in economic development in their communities.

LGNSW President Linda Scott said NSW’s tourism sector was a key component of councils providing a locally led economic recovery and fostering jobs creation.

“Tourism is worth around $38 billion annually and responsible for one in every 14 jobs across the State,” Cr Scott said.

“Councils are key facilitators of the sector: as tourism operators, destination marketers, visitor information service managers, community planners and place makers, as well as broader responsibilities such as the delivery of public infrastructure and services.

“Whether the local economy is based on tourism, hospitality, retail, education or other offerings, councils are actively involved in encouraging investment, place management and activation and supporting businesses of all sizes.

“The end result is jobs creation. Councils are well placed to provide a locally led economic recovery for their communities and tourism is a key aspect of that recovery for many of our local government areas.

“We are confident with State and Federal funding support, councils – which already directly employ more than 60,000 people and manage an estimated $153 billion in assets – could create up to 70,000 new jobs in tourism and many other industries across NSW.”

The theme for this years’ conference is ‘Creating Destinations for Living, Learning, Visiting and Investing’.

“Tourism and economic development go hand in hand in creating the conditions for appealing, vibrant and sustainable communities and strong local economies,” Cr Scott said.

“This week’s conference is also a great opportunity for councillors and council staff to develop networks and share ideas.

“Port Macquarie is an ideal venue, being a compelling tourism destination in NSW with a range of attractions including a nine-kilometre coastal walk, eight beaches, scenic lookouts, the Billabong Koala and Wildlife Park and the world-famous Koala Hospital.

“It is home to excellent local tourism businesses and provided an outstanding example of how to pivot in a crisis when the area’s operators adjusted their offerings to visitors following the impacts of last year’s bushfires and COVID-19 and the more recent floods.”

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Scott Maclean: 0448 718 892