Destination Download | February 2024

Welcome to the first Destination Download of 2024! We hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and New Year!

We’re excited to bring you a range of opportunities aimed at fostering growth and excellence within our industry. This edition shines a spotlight on avenues for business and skills development, featuring an engaging webinar on ‘Creating Wellness Experiences’. Led by industry experts, this session promises to equip operators with the tools needed to craft memorable and rejuvenating experiences for visitors seeking wellness-focused adventures.

In other news, some great wins for our region as the “The Farm” at Killalea has been named the best beach in New South Wales and awarded second best beach in Australia in Tourism Australia’s Best Australian Beaches list and Wollongong secures the hosting rights for the 2025 World Triathlon Championship Finals!

As always, if we can assist your business or you’d like to chat about the visitor economy in the DSSS region, please reach out to us! Between our updates, we also share updates on LinkedIn and you’ll also find us on Instagram, we encourage you to follow us on the socials.
Image: Tractorless Vineyard Cellar Door NSW Credit: Destination NSW.

News & Announcements

Image: The Farm Credit: Kramer Photography

“The Farm” Named Best Beach in NSW & 2nd Best in Australia

The Farm at Killalea has been named the best beach in New South Wales and awarded second best beach in the country in Tourism Australia’s Best Australian Beaches list.

The annual list is carefully curated by beach expert, Brad Farmer AM, to highlight different destinations and to showcase the diversity of beaches Australia has to offer.

The Farm has captured the hearts of ocean lovers worldwide, with its rich history, stunning natural beauty and status as a National Surfing Reserve.

Lyndel Gray, Chair, Destination Sydney Surrounds South said, “Destination Sydney Surrounds South is delighted to join Shellharbour City Council in celebrating this recognition. The visitor economy plays a very important role in the region supporting small businesses and sustainable economic growth.”

Congratulations Shellharbour! 

Full Media Release

Wollongong to Host 2025 World Triathlon Championship Finals

In partnership with Destination NSW and AusTriathlon, Wollongong City Council has sealed a ground-breaking three-year agreement that will see the return of the Championship Finals to Australia, along with the hosting rights for the 2024 World Triathlon Cup and an additional event in 2026.

Following the success of the 2022 UCI Road World Championships, Wollongong has solidified its status as a premier destination for global sporting events.

Get ready for an unforgettable showcase of athleticism and camaraderie!

Learn More
Image: Huskisson, Jervis Bay Photo: Above Down Under by Kramer Photography

2024 NSW Top Tourism Town Awards – NOW OPEN!

The NSW Tourism Industry Council invites towns from across the state to showcase their tourism excellence at the prestigious Top Tourism Town Awards 2024.

The Top Tourism Town Awards recognise and applaud the tourism excellence of cities, towns, and villages throughout NSW. These Awards celebrate their dedication in promoting tourism and attracting visitors to their destinations, and their contribution to the economic and social prosperity of their communities.

Towns can enter under three categories: Tiny Tourism Town, Small Tourism Town, and Top Tourism Town, with the winners progressing to the National Awards.

Learn More

Business & Skills Development, Resources, Events

NSW First Webinar: Creating Wellness Experiences

Join Destination NSW and wellness expert, Katherine Droga from Droga & Co., along with guest speakers from Currajong Retreat and Watersports Guru, to explore opportunities for NSW visitor attraction, accommodation and tour and activity providers to create wellness experiences.  
While wellness travel is often associated with spas, health resorts, and yoga retreats, NSW accommodation and experience providers can also add wellness elements into their visitor experiences. 
Join the webinar to learn about the growing interest in wellness travel and how to include wellness elements in your experience. 
In this session: 

  • Learn about wellness trends, the value of the sector and visitor expectations.
  • Get practical tips to create wellness experiences.
  • Hear how other visitor economy businesses weave wellness into their products.
  • The session will include Q&A with the speakers.

This webinar is presented by Destination NSW as part of the NSW First Program, designed to assist visitor economy businesses to develop, promote and sell world-class visitor experiences. 

Register Now

Have an Ecotourism Business or Business Idea?

University of Wollongong’s iAccelerate is delivering the RISE program again in 2024.

RISE is a regional entrepreneurship accelerator that supports businesses to grow and make time to bring new ideas to life.

This year RISE is focusing on 4 key industries however if you are outside these industries, we would still love to hear from you.

  • Circularity
  • High Quality Food Production
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Ecotourism
Learn More

Industry Insights

Latest Data and Trends

Domestic Visitation & Expenditure

Tourism Research Australia data shows stronger domestic travel results in November 2023 compared to November 2022. Spend was $8.7 billion, up three per cent. There were 9.2 million overnight trips, up eight per cent on November 2022. Visitors spent 28.6 million nights away. This was on par with November 2022. Australians took 3.3 million holiday trips (down four per cent year on year), three million trips for visiting friends and relatives (up 19 per cent year on year) and 2.5 million business trips (up 14 per cent year on year). Early data shows domestic overnight trip rates for December 2023 were stronger compared to December 2022 but slightly weaker than December 2019. Data for the first three weeks of January 2024 show weaker results when compared to January 2023.

Domestic Snapshot –

International Visitation & Expenditure

International visitor expenditure and nights spent in Australia in November 2023 exceeded November 2019 levels by four per cent and 13 per cent respectively according to new Tourism Research Australia data. Trips to Australia were 81 per cent of 2019 levels. International visitors spent $2.4 billion during their trips, took 627,000 international trips to Australia and had 22.9 million nights away. Holiday travel accounted for 259,000 trips (71 per cent of 2019 levels), with spend of $891 million (95 per cent of 2019 levels). Business travel accounted for 73,000 trips (66 per cent of 2019 levels) with spend of $207 million (101 per cent of 2019 levels), while employment-related travel accounted for 27,000 trips (165 per cent of 2019 levels, with spend of $269 million (199 per cent of 2019 levels).

International Snapshot –


India Invited to ‘Come and Say G’day’

Tourism Australia is inviting Indian visitors to ‘Come and Say G’day’ via a campaign running on digital, social, out-of-home and cinema platforms in Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru. The campaign is supported by content on Meta, YouTube and sporting broadcasts to reach high-value travellers. It includes assets in malls, arterial city junctions and areas that have a high density of relevant target audiences across the country, as well as cinema placements in luxury theatres. Australian Bureau of Statistics data for November 2023 shows India was the sixth largest source market for visitors to NSW.

Local Updates & New Product

Narooma Mountain Bike Trails Open

A new era for the Far South Coast visitor economy is off and racing with 88 kilometres of mountain bike trails now officially open. The $4.1 million Narooma Mountain Bike Hub project, co-funded by the Australian and NSW Government under the Local Economic Recovery program, has delivered an additional 58 kilometres of new trails and a trail head car park in Bodalla State Forest. The trails are predicted to generate an extra 65,000 visitors to the region, boost the local visitor economy and grow the Far South Coast’s reputation as a premier destination for mountain biking.

Learn More

Grant & Funding Opportunities

Arts and Cultural Funding Program

Create NSW has a number of funding opportunities for professional artists, arts and cultural workers and organisations across a wide range of artforms and disciplines.

From Individual & Group Project Funding, to the Creative Koori Projects and Regional Arts Touring program, there is support out there to assist the growth of the creative arts and cultural activities across NSW.

Learn More

Live Music Australia Grants Program

The Australian Government’s National Cultural Policy Revive recognises the importance of the live music sector and provides support for the music industry.

Live Music Australia is designed to bring more live music to Australian communities and will fund applications that support quality original Australian live music that is professionally staged.

The Australian Government will provide a total of $20 million over four years for the Live Music Australia program.

Stay tuned as Round 8 of the Live Music Australia program will open on 12 February 2024.

Learn More
Thank you for taking the time to read this update. Don’t forget between our updates you’ll find us on the socials – head over to follow us on LinkedIn and you’ll also find us on Instagram. We also encourage you to share our updates with your networks, simply forward this email and they can register here.

Talk soon,
The DSSS team