Message from the Chair
Welcome to the first of our communications for 2019.
In conversation with fellow business operators, conditions continue to be challenging, particularly with increasing operating and utility costs, however it is pleasing to hear that many of our traditional summer destinations on the coast enjoyed strong trade due to the throngs of people heading to the coast to escape the prolonged heat. On the downside those same conditions and the drought continue to negatively impact industry, particularly in the Southern Highlands and Wollondilly areas. Let’s hope these conditions ease up so these areas get some relief and businesses can simply get on with doing business.
In 2019 we’ll continue to focus our resources on regionally significant activities aligned with the Sydney Surrounds South Destination Management Plan that will in the coming months, be updated in line with a number of recently released local and state plans. This updated plan will be distributed and available online when complete.
On our radar in the coming months are both State and Federal elections; on behalf of industry we’ll be continuing to advocate at all levels to lift the tourism and events portfolio in line with Visitor Economy impacts across the state both current and into the future. We’ll also continue our focus on advocating for the needed whole-of-government approach, at all levels, in relation to planning and development to enable operators to diversify and grow their business to make the most of the forecast growth of the visitor economy.
We’ll also be continuing to advocate and work with proponents to secure funding for the much-needed major infrastructure to support demand being experienced now and to meet future needs. The recent announcement of $15.97 million for upgrades to the Illawarra Regional Airport is a great example of a collaborative effort to secure funding for infrastructure upgrades; this will be a significant game changer that will provide social and economic benefits to the region, so congratulations to all involved in securing the funding. With the sods being turned at Badgerys Creek and our proximity to Canberra airport where direct international flights continue to grow, aviation strategies to stimulate growth in our region are in our projects plan.
It was also encouraging to see the announcement that the NSW Government has initiated a programme to promote the value of the night time economy as part of the overall visitor experience for regional NSW; a topic discussed at a recent Destination Networks planning session with Destination NSW. I encourage you to list your venue and events on the Night Time Events Directory here, as they are an attractor and motivator that drives spend in the local economy and encourages visitors to stay longer to the benefit of all.
Recognising that most of our industry on the South Coast, Highlands and Wollondilly are small businesses, I’d encourage all to tap into the resources available via DSSS and the various agencies who are there to help with business development, advice on product development, trade programs and training. As an example, DSSS recently assisted more than 15 event organisers in developing their funding application to the Destination NSW Regional Flagship Events Program.
Information on just some of these opportunities you’ll find in this newsletter however if there is other support you’re seeking don’t hesitate to reach out to our team via [email protected] or call Natasha McQueen on 0487-700-074.
Kind regards and all the best to you in 2019.
Chair, Destination Sydney Surrounds South