Tourism in the Northern Rivers will begin a new era in sustainable tourism development and promotion as a result of the funding announced in the State Government’s Mini Budget, according to the chair of Northern Rivers Tourism, Gerd Beurich.

“We will receive an additional $591,000 over the next three-and-a-half years to develop industry capacity and fund a series of innovative marketing campaigns to encourage more visitors to come and to stay longer in the region,” Mr Beurich said.

Previously NRT has been somewhat limited to playing an administrative role in co-ordinating local government involvement in Tourism NSW marketing campaigns.

The funding will enable NRT to be an organisation that represents industry, local government and community interests and effectively facilitate sustainable tourism development and promotion.  

“In an otherwise tough Mini Budget it was clear that the State Government realised how important it was to boost regional tourism funding, with the only change to the proposal being that it will now be available six months later than originally envisaged and spread over three-and-a-half years and not three,” said Mr Beurich.

“This funding enables us to build on the work we’ve done with this year’s flood recovery funding to return to strong growth in our tourism industry.

“Over the past 18 months we have been very proactive in preparing for this transition by appointing an experienced CEO in Russell Mills, developing a skills-based board, running industry development workshops and events and engaging more closely with our industry, as well as local government. so that Northern Rivers Tourism is now well-placed as the peak industry body.”

Northern Rivers Tourism is now more actively involved in promotion of the region, having recently run marketing campaigns targeting visitors from south-east Queensland and New Zealand.

CEO Russell Mills added that with the funding came the need for the Northern Rivers tourism industry itself to play a greater role in its own destiny.

“The additional funding is based on a genuine partnership with the tourism industry,” he said.

“That is, it will be matched dollar for dollar to the level of support which comes from our local government and tourism industry partners. The greater the collaboration, the stronger our tourism industry can become.”