City set sights on tourism to bolster future of COVID disrupted economy

23 Nov 2020

A fresh approach to unleash Newcastle’s tourism potential will be unveiled by City of Newcastle to attract a wider visitor audience and boost local economic COVID-recovery efforts.

Newcastle’s thriving tourism industry, prior to COVID-19, contributed $1 billion to the local economy each year, with more than 5.1 million international and domestic travellers visiting in 2019.

The City’s draft 2021-2025 Destination Management Plan was created with stakeholders from across the industry, and sets out a raft of initiatives and projects set to stimulate the local tourism economy and increase visitor spend.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said work done now to position Newcastle as a premier tourism destination will play a vital role in the city’s future economic recovery, once travel restrictions ease further.

“The City has taken the lead to spearhead a collaborative and consolidated approach toward shaping Newcastle’s future as a destination for visitors and tourists,” said Cr Nelmes.

“With a pipeline of new-build hotel investment, including the five-star Kingsley part of the Crystalbrook Collection in the former City Administration Centre and plans underway to develop the historic Newcastle Post Office into a hotel, and Iris Capital’s QT Hotel, Newcastle is well positioned to attract a new wave of domestic and international visitors, once travel restrictions ease further.

“The City is committed to driving the growth and sustainability of the visitor economy with a new tourism plan designed as a visionary tool, instrumental to driving Newcastle’s social and economic recovery.

“The Destination Management Plan provides our City with a blueprint to work together across government and industry to create meaningful partnerships in order to achieve a shared vision for Newcastle as a premier visitor destination, showcasing the City’s rich art, cultural and culinary scene, a vibrant night-time economy and experiences that celebrate our natural environment and creative community.

“The Plan highlights the significant opportunity for a tourism-led economic recovery from signature attractions, while developing tourism products and experiences, particularly across places like Blackbutt Reserve, the Bathers Way, Newcastle Art Gallery, and Fort Scratchley.

“We aim to build a thriving visitor economy in Newcastle that will lead to population, economic and jobs growth, and our City’s success will be one shared by the greater Hunter Region, NSW and Australia.

“To succeed as a sector, industry, government and operators need to collaborate and find ways to work together, by positioning Newcastle as the destination of choice in order to attract the tourist dollar, in an increasingly competitive market.”

Councillors will vote at tonight’s Ordinary Council Meeting to place the draft Destination Management Plan on public exhibition from 25 November 2020 until 6 January 2021.