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Byron Shire
June 21, 2021

How state govt plans to funnel more tourists into Byron

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A beach in the Spanish resort of Benidorm. Is this how Byron could look under the state government’s new plan? Photo Newscorp

The NSW government has set new international visitor targets for its Visitor Economy Industry Action Plan (VEIAP).  

It follows ‘an independent review’ of the plan, which outlines aggressive targets ‘to keep the state number one in the country for overnight visitors and accelerate growth to deliver maximum economic benefits through our visitor economy.’

NSW tourism minister Adam Marshall (Nationals) says, ‘International visitor markets like China and India represent significant growth opportunities for Sydney and rural and regional NSW, which is why we’re working on campaigns and strategies to fly more tourists to the state.’

‘We want to make tourism an engine industry for rural and regional NSW – that’s why we’ve also, for the first time ever, created a regional NSW target of $20 billion by 2020 and $25 billion by 2030’.

According to the plan’s ‘key themes and actions’ Sydney features prominently, yet there will be ‘increased funding and accountability for Destination Networks and  renewed engagement with local councils.’

One stated focus is to ‘Put the visitor first,’ while another is removing ‘barriers to business.’ 

As for infrastructure investment, the NSW government plans to streamline the ‘processes for state-significant developments,’ and ‘focus on new regional flights.’

The Visitor Economy Industry Action Plan is available at www.bit.ly/2oUSVDE.

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  1. Once a very popular destination, Byron is blacklisted by the more conscientious tourists around the world and is now well knows as a ‘do not go to’ place. This has happened since the council destroyed the alternate culture of the town, and made a serious and deliberate attempt to turn it into “the same as everywhere else” Introducing late liquor licenses and thus increasing violence in the area to justify what is now a highly disrespectful and quite brutal local police force sure hasn’t helped things. The final nail was when they built a repulsive amenities block no one wants to use and introduced paid parking… Byron bay is now also THE MOST expensive place in the entire world to live…. Thank you Byron Council. You have done a bang up job in completely destroying what was once an internationally acclaimed treasure and reducing it to a dysfunctional cash cow for the state that no one wants to visits much anymore. Not even locals.

  2. Gladys let-them-eat-holiday-lets Berejiklian’s response to homelessness and rental stress is repugnant.
    Now residential renters will have to compete for houses with holiday letting tourists. Even in Sydney, home ownership for the next generation just became even more inaccessible.

  3. This is a bit much. Certainly the State has contributed to the overcrowding and poor infrastructure for tourists, but the paid parking has been brilliant for gaining some revenue for the council to spend fixing roads destroyed by tourists. The council didn’t introduce late liquor licences, that was the licensees aided by the State. Actually the council introduced the gentle family-oriented New Year’s Eve as a welcome alternative to the hideous mess we used to have. As for the amenities block – it is hideous, but it’s not final – and wouldn’t that turn tourists away rather than attract them?
    Byron is certainly not the most expensive (even without capital letters) place in the entire world to live. That would be London, or New York, or even Sydney. Some houses are expensive especially the ones close to the beach that are attractive to tourists and wealthy people. It is not “affordable” to live in the centre of Byron Bay but hardly anyone does, it’s all tourist accommodation. Many people share their homes with working people who need a place to live.
    It is the State Government that has used Byron as the centrepiece of advertising for tourists to come to NSW. It’s the State that hasn’t provided the necessary infrastructure and services that its drawcard requires, and now it’s the same State that has opened the floodgates to illegal holiday letting in residential areas and thereby wrecked what you call an internationally acclaimed treasure. The treasure is still here – our environment is treasured and maintained and protected – mostly – by locals. Plenty of people still want to visit here – in fact more and more each year, and the State is supporting that. It’s also supporting the departure of locals who don’t know who their neighbours are today, or will be tomorrow.
    The Council tried to stop this, with a well-designed policy 2 or 3 years ago, which would have managed holiday letting quite well, but the State stopped it – as it is able to do because local government only exists and has powers under State legislation – because it was “developing a State-wide policy”. And now we have it, and believe me, every coastal LGA in NSW and most in Sydney are screaming. It’s a horrible policy that will take our peace, our environment,our enjoyment and our homes away from us. Why? The State is greedy for taxes, development, anything that will puff up its coffers and it does not care what becomes of our homes and our town.
    So please don’t diss the Council, they are our friends and the best council we have had for many, many years. That is not saying they are perfect, far from it – but they are trying on our behalf.

    • Can I correct the comment that the Byron Shire roads have been destroyed by tourists. Tourists numbers appear high when annualised but at any time they are only a small proportion of the population and their cars are an even smaller proportion of the the traffic in the area. Modern light private cars do very little damage to the roads; most is done by heavier vehicles, particularly trucks.

      When my father Ted Hatfield was President of the Shire the roads were better than in most rural areas in NSW. Their current sorry state of the Byron Shire’s roads is a result of neglect over many years, and once damaged it becomes very expensive to repair them. The Shire is now one of the wealthiest in regional Australia with a very good rates base. It is time its residents stopped blaming others for their own negligence and spend their rates fixing their roads.

  4. As a life long resident of 54 yrs I say bring them tourists in State Gov, It’s the best way to get rid of them all and impoverish the town. This over greedy response has happened before to other tourist towns on the coast. Eventually the whole reason people come to these areas (to relax and enjoy) disappears altogether and they move on to the next quite coastal town instead, to repeat the same stupidity. The marine park stopped recreational boat fishing, parking meters made stopping in Byron an unfriendly exercise. Herding people into overpriced accommodation and price gouging the tourists and locals alike from the local shops (due to in part, high rents ). Why the hell would tourists come hear or locals shop here. Certainly not to experience the local culture because all they find are more tourists who outnumber the locals. Even the workers tend to be tourists being paid $5 an hour. The heart of the town has been built over with motels and backpackers. When I was in the town Fire Brigade it was increasingly difficult to get volunteers who lived close enough to the station to get there quickly in response to a call out. The prices of houses mean some are owned by the really wealthy who visit 2 or 3 weeks a year and the house is vacant the rest of the time. They are to wealthy to bother renting them out. So bring in more tourists till the damn town chokes on the buggers I say. Byron Bay will be a victim of it’s own success. Sooner the better.


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