Northern Rivers Tourism is to be incorporated into a new entity known as the North Coast Destination Network and has vacated its Bangalow offices.
The amalgamation with Mid North Coast Tourism to form the new entity is being driven by the report of the Visitor Economy Taskforce, which was critical of the effectiveness of regional tourism organisations.
The new network, which will cover 15 local-government areas between Tweed Heads and Port Stephens, is to be headquartered in Coffs Harbour.
The NSW government has confirmed funding arrangements totalling $5.1m for regional tourism organisations in the state, contingent on the restructure.
‘The North Coast Destination Network will be a more effective framework for investment in regional tourism development and promotion, and it is expected to place us in a very strong position to capitalise on the recommendations of the Visitor Economy Taskforce Report,’ said NRT Chairman Mr Cameron Arnold.
‘We’ve seen an opportunity to take advantage of the opportunities that this presents us and have received very positive feedback from Destination NSW to our new structure,’ added Mr Arnold.
Northern Rivers Tourism CEO Russell Mills said, ‘Over the past four years NRT has worked closely with our neighbouring RTO Mid North Coast Tourism on cooperative marketing programs like The Legendary Pacific Coast and many industry development initiatives’.
The NRT Board will continue to exist with the chairs and deputy chairs of both Northern Rivers Tourism and Mid North Coast Tourism represented on the board of the newly established network
‘There is a lot of natural common ground between our organisations and we’re excited about this restructure of the two RTOs to form a new North Coast Destination Network. It provides us with a great framework to work collaboratively across local government, regional and state boundaries – which visitors don’t take much notice of – to achieve common goals in tourism and events.’
The network will provide resources for tourism industry development and promotion to domestic and international markets. It recognises the importance of tourism on the north coast, which accounts for nearly a third of domestic overnight visitors and more than 55 per cent of international visitors to regional NSW.
A NSW government response to the report will be released to the public by the end of October in the form of a Visitor Economy Industry Action Plan.
The North Coast Destination Network is intended to be formally constituted in October. Having benefited from a transition period in 2012–13, it aims to become a major contributor the NSW visitor economy through 2020 and beyond.