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Byron Shire
May 23, 2024

Tweed Council seeks businesses to join its rail trail ‘Connect Program’ 

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More than 70,000 people used the Rail Trail in the first four months of operation, with projections indicating it will attract more than 150,000 users and guests annually. Photo supplied

Paying for the maintenance and providing an engaging visitor experience for the Tweed section of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail is a key aspect of Tweed Shire Council’s (TSC) Connect Program. 

The program is inviting businesses and commercial operators to share in the success of the popular Northern Rivers Rail Trail (Tweed section) and sign up and work with the TSC on enhancing and maintaining the rail trail. 

‘The Connect Program will enable business partners to highlight their guest experience offerings, focusing on the ways users can taste, stay, move, explore, and enjoy along the rail trail,’ stated the press release. 

The Connect Program will enable business partners to highlight the ways users can taste, stay, move, explore and enjoy along the Rail Trail. Photo supplied

The TSC is seeking to both develop business opportunities in tandem with the rail trail and encourage existing businesses to work with them to promote themselves and the trail itself. 

Mayor of Tweed Shire Chris Cherry said the Connect framework would not only offer a smart and affordable link to the Rail Trail for businesses but would provide an important revenue stream for Council to contribute to the ongoing operation and maintenance costs of the Rail Trail.

‘The Connect Program provides great value and is a fair and open framework to ensure those benefiting from commercial gain from the Rail Trail also contribute to its maintenance while receiving a wide range of business benefits to promote their experience or service to Rail Trail guests,’ Cr Cherry said.

‘This is all about supporting our local economy to thrive by generating sustainable economic opportunities to bolster our long-term future.’

The Connect Program caters for three business needs – commercial operations, marketing and signage – and is a way for adjacent landowners, businesses and tourism operators to access potential visitors to the Rail Trail.

The Connect Program features:

  1. The Rail Trail Pass: an affordable annual fee and other charges for commercial operators undertaking business and activities on and in association with the Rail Trail.
  2. The Marketing Program: a tiered program offering a range of cooperative marketing opportunities with affordable gold, silver and bronze entry points to suit all budgets and marketing goals. This offers a wide range of benefits from website and map listings to social media exposure.
  3. The Signage Program: available to Marketing Program members, the signage program provides opportunities for exclusive on-trail signage options and sizes within the rail corridor.

The Connect Program provides a smart and affordable link for adjacent landowners, businesses and tourism operators to access potential Rail Trail visitors. Photo supplied

Significant visitor numbers

Figures show more than 70,000 people used the Tweed secion of the rail trail in the first four months of operation, with projections indicating it will attract more than 150,000 users and guests annually. With such a successful opening TSC are looking to connect commercial operators and businesses to the award-winning rail trail.

‘Six months on from opening the Rail Trail, we are pleased to now be able to launch the Connect Program,’ Cr Cherry said.

‘This will see us move into an exciting operational phase to facilitate collaboration with commercial businesses to help us truly unlock the potential for sustainable experiences that stretch across the Tweed. This not only benefits our local businesses but also enriches the overall trail experience for visitors to the region.

‘Our goal is to develop and support a thriving community of operators who are wholeheartedly committed to growing the Northern Rivers Rail Trail. Through collaboration and innovation, we’re shaping an exciting future for our region.’

If you offer guest experiences, services or products in categories like Taste, Stay, Move, Explore or Enjoy, we want to hear from you! For more information or to join the Connect Program visit the Northern Rivers Rail Trail website.

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