The electorates of Tweed and Ballina are two of the state’s most reliant on tourism for employment, according to figures released last week.
The statistics are part of the Tourism and Transport Forum’s annual Tourism Employment Atlas.
They show Tweed has the state’s second largest proportion of residents employed in the tourism industry, on 7.3 per cent – or 1,900 in total.
It is closely followed by Ballina, in fourth position, with 7.1 per cent (a total of 2,100 people) linked to the industry.
The situation is mirrored to varying degrees along the NSW coast, with top spot taken out by Bega on the south coast, also on 7.3 per cent.
North Coast Tourism Network executive officer, Belinda Novicky said the findings reinforce tourism is ‘a critical economic driver for regional NSW’.
‘Tourism employment extends far beyond travel agents and those who work in hotels and motels,’ Ms Novicky said.
‘It includes chefs and cooks, transport workers from pilots to taxi drivers, tour guides and those who provide services to visitors across our region’s attractions, national parks and state forests, cultural and entertainment offerings and our retail sector,’ she added.
In Clarence 5.7 percent (1,300 people) were employed in the industry and in Coffs Harbour 6.8 per cent (1,900).
The state average was 5.1 per cent, or 158,000 people.
In 2012-13, tourism was responsible for 158,000 jobs across New South Wales.
There were also another 109,000 indirect jobs supported by tourism, according to the report.
‘Statewide, tourism created $33 billion in overall expenditure for the state,’ Ms Novicky said.
According to figures from Destination NSW, in the year to December 2013 domestic visitors spent $9.1 billion in the NSW north coast.
Of this, international visitors spent $674 million and day-trippers spent $3.7.
The total expenditure for the state last year was $12.8 billion.