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Byron Shire
March 5, 2021

Visitor strategy aims to cope with 3.86m visitors a year by 2030

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Visitors to the Byron Shire would be given specific advice about how they would be expected to behave under a far-reaching Sustainable Visitor Strategy, developed by Byron Council.

The strategy, the outcome of extensive consultation with residents and industry representatives, is due to go on public exhibition in the coming weeks, and will be discussed at this week’s planning and development meeting. 

It includes a series of strategies and proposed actions under the overarching vision of welcoming visitors, and having a visitor economy that ‘cares for and respects our residents, creates low-impact visitor experiences, protects our natural environment, celebrates our cultural diversity and shares our social values’.

The challenges faced in achieving such a vision are acknowledged in the strategy, including the fact that by 2030, it is predicted that the Shire could have 3.86 million visitors a year.

In 2018/19, Byron Shire had 200,000 international overnight visitors, 1m domestic overnight visitors, and 1m day trippers.

Ecological impacts 

This has the potential to significantly increase both the ecological and amenity impacts on the Shire, including damage to fragile local environments, increased degradation of local infrastructure such as roads, and severe overcrowding of popular visitor locations. 

One of the strategies suggested to address these impacts was to position the Shire as a leading sustainable and environmentally responsible tourism destination.

This included the creation of a ‘Welcome to Byron Shire’ program for visitors, and a ‘Tourism Toolkit’ for industry.

The program would aim to provide ‘specific behaviour expectations’ for visitors, lift customer service standards, and provide product destination and Indigenous heritage information.

Other actions to achieve this goal included investigating the opportunity to design a ‘Byron Shire Eco Check’ program to ‘help tourism businesses implement environmentally friendly and sustainable business practices’. 

There was also a plan to ‘encourage and work with local environmental groups to develop volunteer tourism initiatives’.

Other plans and strategies included improving the sustainability, coordination and management of festivals, business and leisure events, improving road infrastructure and parking availability, and improving planning regulations and zoning for managing the growth of tourism. 

These strategies would be implemented in consultation with local Aboriginal stakeholders in relation to opportunities to enhance visitation experiences, while maintaining and protecting cultural heritage sites and places.


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4 COMMENTS

  1. Great idea! I hope this goes ahead. Planning for a sustainable future for the Byron Shire is a step in the right direction plus educating our visitors is a plus too! If the tourist industry is pushing for this then we’re got a great opportunity to lead the way while taking care of the environment.

  2. It’s all very well to declare such a strategy, but just how will it be implemented and policed? Will it actually be enforceable? Is this just another committee’s hot-air job, or will it translate to meaningful action?

    A strategy is just words. I don’t believe that excessive tourism is compatible with preserving our Shire’s qualities  – at least those that still exist.

    It’s a tad late when paradise has already been replaced with parking lots.

  3. There are already great features that can be capitalized on such as the electric train, the notorious reputation of our town and upcoming self-driven taxis moving our guests in and out of the town’s outskirts.
    Parking lots can be replaced with more enjoyable and revenue generating micro business and green areas providing Byron with a unique proposal for tourists to enjoy.

    As long as we are creative and capable to anticipate on technology & demand the sky is the limit

  4. No the sky is not the limit. The earths capacity is the limit, and we are exceeding it on the way to collapse, both environmentally and socially by our overdeveloped tourist load. Great to have tourists come to enjoy what we are and do here, but we are/were heading to a place where locals were mainly sidelined for tourism, and at a big travel CO2 price (such as the increased intensity bush fires, and subsequent deaths, destruction and the present thousands of internal climate change refugees). How unfortunate that contagion is the only cause of real greenhouse gas reductions.

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