Mentoring program to create buzz for Newcastle tourism experiences

30 Sept 2020

Fifteen local businesses will learn how to create new or expanded tourism offerings as part of a City of Newcastle program designed to grow the visitor economy. 

The Product Development Mentoring Program is connecting local operators with professional mentors, who will teach them how to develop, promote and sell their tourism products and experiences to a wider market.

The initiative forms part of the City’s commitment to helping the local tourism industry survive and recover from the unprecedented impacts of COVID-19. 

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the quality of the applicants and the diversity of their offerings would start to fill the gap of bookable tourism products on offer in Newcastle, while also aligning with the city’s key experience pillars of coastal and aquatic assets, active and outdoor lifestyle, arts, heritage and culture, culinary destinations and ‘after dark’ activities. 

“This program will support and empower tourism operators to optimise their business and showcase the city’s best assets to a wider tourism audience,” Cr Nelmes said.

“From cruises that make the most of our stunning coastline and waterways to land-based guided tours that unearth the hidden gems within our city, these tourism operators are passionate about sharing those elements that make Newcastle such an exciting and enticing destination.

“It’s also great to see some additions to the tourism mix among the successful applicants, including new businesses launching into the market and established business dipping their toes into the tourism sector to enhance their core offering.

“Expanding the suite of bookable options on offer across Newcastle will also have a flow-on effect that will benefit the local hospitality, accommodation and retail sectors by helping to grow visitation, length of stay and expenditure in Newcastle when travel restrictions ease.”

Applications were invited for the new program in August, with 15 local operators chosen by a panel of assessors to take part in the mentoring process, which kicked off this month and will continue until February next year. 

The 15 participants 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 Pty Ltd, The Lock-Up, Underground Epicureans and Urban Hum. 

The Product Development Mentoring Program is being funded as part of the City’s Community and Economic Resilience Package and builds on other industry-based support including more than $500,000 in Industry Response Program grants developed in collaboration with the City Taskforce.