Mentoring program gives rise to more tourism experiences in Newcastle

08 Jun 2021

Sourdough making classes, quirky art workshops and sight-seeing bike rides with a twist will be served up to tourists as part of a push to expand Newcastle’s tourism experiences.

Fifteen Newcastle businesses have been supported by City of Newcastle to develop and promote new products and experiences to a wider market under its Product Mentoring Development Program.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said increasing the number of bespoke bookable experiences in Newcastle is one of the priority initiatives under the City’s Destination Management Plan.

“Consultation with industry and experts during the development of our Destination Management Plan identified that Newcastle was lacking bookable tourism products and experiences, which are vital to sustaining and growing Newcastle’s visitor economy,” Cr Nelmes said.

“Our Product Development Mentoring Program provided 15 local businesses with training and business to business mentoring on how to develop tourism products that leveraged Newcastle’s unique offering in a way that would appeal to visitors from outside the region and abroad.

“The results have been fantastic, with new tourism products including the launch of a new business called Newy Rides. Other beneficiaries such as Baked Uprising and Mitch Revs Gallery explored new opportunities in the tourism market to enhance their core offerings. Urban Hum refined their tourism experience while other businesses have expanded their operations, employed new staff and relaunched products, which were put on hold by COVID-19.

“City of Newcastle has contributed $150,000 to these 15 local businesses to help them better prepare to meet visitor demands now and in the future.”

Cr Nelmes said program facilitators, Sparrowly Group, will provide another 10 businesses with training with funding from City of Newcastle’s NewSkills Program.

“Investing in the tourism industry is about building a thriving, diverse and robust economy, while also helping to reposition Newcastle as a premier tourism destination with focuses on events, experiences, natural assets and cultural heritage,” Cr Nelmes said.

The 15 participants in the initial program are:

  • Baked Uprising
  • Blackbutt Reserve
  • Christ Church Cathedral
  • CoastXP
  • Earp Distilling Co
  • Mitch Revs Gallery
  • Newcastle Afoot
  • Newcastle Backroad Tours
  • Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club
  • Newcastle Ghost Tours
  • Newy Rides
  • Nova Cruises
  • The Lock-Up
  • Underground Epicureans
  • Urban Hum.

Kyle Liston from Baked Uprising said the program provided an invaluable insight into the opportunities available from the visitor economy as a non-traditional tourism operator.

“We’d never really thought of ourselves in the tourism market before, but this program allowed us to broaden our focus to think about the business in a different way,” Kyle said.

“Food tourism is a growing market in Newcastle’s offering as a destination. The program gave us the knowledge and confidence to develop a range of new experiences to be introduced in the future, from sourdough making workshops to intimate interactive experiences, showcasing Newcastle’s heart and soul as a city of makers, which in turn will encourage our customers to not only come back but bring their friends and visitors with them.”

To find out more, City of Newcastle have produced a two-minute video of the Product Development Mentoring Program.