Tourism plan to shape Newcastle’s visitor economy as a destination with a difference

23 Mar 2021

A first-of-its-kind plan to reposition Newcastle as a premier tourism destination with focuses on events, natural assets and cultural heritage has been approved by City of Newcastle.

The Newcastle Destination Management Plan (DMP), developed in partnership with tourism industry partners, will reset Newcastle’s tourism identity and brand in the highly competitive visitor economy celebrating Newcastle’s indigenous, natural and built heritage points of difference.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said there is significant opportunity for a tourism-led economic recovery and success with initiatives and projects designed to attract new visitors and increase tourist spend.

“City of Newcastle is taking the lead in spearheading a collaborative and consolidated whole of industry approach toward shaping Newcastle as a premier destination for future visitors and tourists,” the Lord Mayor said.

“Prior to COVID-19, Newcastle’s tourism industry contributed $1 billion to the local economy each year, with more than 5 million international and domestic travellers visiting in 2019.

“This plan builds on the success of our events strategy that has seen Newcastle continue to grow jobs and expand our visitor economy over the last six years. Showcasing our strengths as a city, including making the most of our rich aboriginal and post-colonial heritage, world class coastline and building on our reputation as a world-class events city with an updated Events Strategy and expanded conferencing facilities.

“Our Tourism Product Development Program is a great example of what City of Newcastle is already doing to support local tourism businesses. In late 2020, we provided 15 local businesses with training and B2B mentoring on how to develop tourism products. The results have been excellent – multiple new bookable tourism products (including Newy Rides, Earp Distilling Co, Mitch Revs Gallery and Urban Hum), businesses expanding operations, and importantly, the employment of new staff.

“Ongoing investment in events and tourism is integral to building a thriving, diverse and robust economy in order to future-proof Newcastle to withstand disruptions like COVID-19.

“The DMP is a blueprint for collaboration across government and industry, creating meaningful partnerships to achieve a shared vision for Newcastle as a premier visitor destination.

Director of Strategy and Engagement Brett Smith said the City is intently focused on repositioning Newcastle as a premier tourism and major events destination in readiness for tourism to rebound.

“The business events sector is showing green shoots of recovery and the city is well positioned to attract a future wave of domestic and international ‘revenge travellers’ as consumer confidence increases and travel restrictions ease across the globe, said Brett.

“Despite world class beaches, a thriving arts scene and small-bar culture, Newcastle isn’t always thought of as a tourism destination. The DMP addresses this with a plan to debunk misconceptions and create a clear identity for the city.

“Newcastle is a contemporary urban playground, steeped in heritage, bustling with arts and culture with a vibrant night-time economy, while boasting a stunning section of the NSW east-coast.

Newcastle’s appeal and tourism infrastructure continues to grow with new hotels under construction, including the five-star Kingsley in the former City Administration Centre, Iris Capital’s QT Hotel, and with plans underway to develop the historic Newcastle Post Office into a conference and function space.