For the first time in history, total visitors to the Shoalhaven have exceeded three million over a 12-month period, emphasising the importance of tourism for the region and its growing appeal amongst travellers.
The National and International Visitors Surveys1 report an estimated total of 3.1 million visitors to the region for the year ending March 2016, an increase of approximately 11 per cent compared to the same period in 2015. Above average domestic day and domestic overnight visitor estimates were the main contributors to the record high.
An estimated 1.7 million domestic day visitors represents a 25 per cent increase over the same period in 2015. Domestic overnight visitors to the Shoalhaven reached 1.4 million over the 12 month period, spending over 4.5 million nights in the Shoalhaven which is one of the highest estimates on record and build on several periods of growth.
International overnight visitor numbers were also above average.
Shoalhaven Tourism Manager, Ms. Coralie Bell believes such a great outcome can be attributed to the delivery of our Shoalhaven major events strategy that sees large festivals such as Fairgrounds taking place in Berry, combined with robust marketing and PR strategies. The continued investment and support of local government in tourism with key resources including staff, content and strategic planning underpins all our tourism successes.” says Ms Bell.
Shoalhaven Tourism Advisory Group Chair, Catherine Shields attributes the great results to the collaboration between industry, council and Destination NSW as well as the move to using digital marketing strategies.
“Record breaking figures in the recent National Visitor Survey are reflective of the powerful collaboration between the council, the regional tourism organisation and Destination NSW which produced the award-winning Unspoilt campaign.
“Now that the overwhelming majority of visitors do their research online, the modernisation of the Nowra Visitors centre has been a long anticipated step forward. The new multi-purpose space with retail and a cafe, shares resources with the Entertainment Centre, looks fantastic and is much more cost-effective. The use of cost effective and cutting-edge online marketing channels and public relations at the local level has been another winning strategy.”
Shoalhaven Mayor, Ms. Joanna Gash, says this achievement represents a positive contribution to the visitor economy which benefits all local businesses in the region.
“Tourism delivers around $700 million dollars into the local economy and these fantastic results directly deliver an estimated 6,300 jobs to our region. Tourism is an important economic driver to our region and it is fantastic to see such strong results,” she said.
Ms. Bell adds: “Ultimately these results demonstrate the strong bond the Shoalhaven has formed with its visitors. It is no longer merely a stop along the road to the far South Coast, but rather a sought-after destination in its own right and a ‘favourite place to be’ amongst holiday-goers.”
For more information, please contact Coralie Bell, Tourism Manager atCoralie.Bell@shoalhaven.nsw.gov.au or call 0421 287 777.