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Regional tourism reforms announced

Regional tourism reforms announced

Tourism Snowy Mountains cautiously optimistic.

The outcomes of the NSW government’s Regional Tourism Organisation (RTO) Review were announced yesterday by the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events, the Hon Stuart Ayres MP.

How these reforms will effect tourism in the Snowy Mountains region and Tourism Snowy Mountains remain to be seen.

Extensive consultation was undertaken by a specially appointed Destination NSW Board with stakeholders including local government, the tourism division of the NSW Business Chamber, the NSW Tourism Advisory Council, key tourism industry associations, the NSW Office of Local Government and NSW's RTO’s including Tourism Snowy Mountains (TSM).

In summary, the key determinations of the Review are:

  • Increased funding for regional tourism programs in NSW from $7m to $11m.
  • A more streamlined Regional Visitor Economy Contestable Fund (RVEF) application process.
  • Increased funding for the RVEF Contestable Fund.
  • An expanded Regional Flagship Events Program and increased funding for the Program.
  • Long-term strategic focus underpinned by the development of a state-wide Destination Management Plan, mapping out the priorities for product development and marketing investment.
  • Six new Destination Networks (DNs). Four year administrative guaranteed funding agreements with the DNs.
  • The Introduction of skills based Boards for each of the DNs.

The Snowy Mountains region will now become part of the Destination Southern NSW Destination Network, clustered with the Far South Coast, Goulburn, Yass, Queanbeyan and other regional areas in south eastern NSW.

“We welcomed the RTO review and applaud the NSW government in initiating changes to a system that had its faults,’’ said Neil Thew Executive Officer of TSM. “There’s much to consider with the announcement, so, the TSM Board will be convening an extraordinary meeting to discuss the impacts of the reforms as they relate to TSM and the visitor economy in our local region; we’ll then be meeting with DNSW to discuss the transition process,’’ said Mr Thew.

As with any reform, the ‘devil is in the detail’ and there remains some uncertainty in the short-term. However, DNSW have confirmed their commitment to honour the successful RVEF grant for $175,000 awarded to TSM to implement a new spring, summer and autumn marketing campaign for the region commencing in late September. TSM is currently working with DNSW and the NSW snow resorts on a winter marketing campaign that will continue through to September.

“Whilst TSM accepts that change was required with the old RTO system in NSW and we agree with much of what the Minister announced yesterday, we are cautious about some of the decisions made and we will be meeting with Mr Ayres tomorrow morning to discuss these,’’ said Peter Cochran Chairman of TSM. ‘’We must ensure that the iconic Snowy Mountains brand and the equity that has been established are not diluted in the new Destination Network structures and we can retain a certain amount of autonomy in how tourism is managed our region,’’ concluded Mr Cochran. For more information about the Destination Networks visit: