The strong results of a recent post-bushfires tourism campaign have sparked optimism, with hope additional state and federal funding will provide a further boost.
State Member for Blue Mountains Roza Sage and Federal Member for Macquarie Louise Markus have been buoyed by leading tourism figures that reveal the business and tourism environment has improved markedly.
The Federal government has delivered $255,000 to Blue Mountains Lithgow and Oberon Tourism (BMLOT), while the state and federal governments’ long-term bushfire recovery package also features a $200,000 campaign. This follows the $150,000 state-funded campaign following the bushfires.
Katoomba Chamber of Commerce and Community president Mark Jarvis said he had seen a number of signs that business activity in the area was gaining strength.
“The federal funding and state campaign have certainly helped businesses recover from the pre-Christmas disaster,” said Mr Jarvis, co-owner of Katoomba’s iconic Carrington Hotel.
“The exposure from the Royal visit, the completion of the Woolworths redevelopment, and even the new roundabout on Katoomba/Waratah Streets has injected a much-needed sense of pride into the town, all before hopefully a strong winter season.”
Mrs Sage said she was confident the additional state and federal funding would prove as successful as the recently completed $150,000 state government-funded campaign, implemented by Destination NSW (DNSW) with input from BMLOT.
“The results have been extremely positive with interest in the Blue Mountains as a destination ballooning well beyond that seen in normal years during the campaign,” said Mrs Sage.
DNSW’s post-campaign report revealed page views of Blue Mountains content on visitnsw.com more than doubled over the campaign period to more than 680,000 visits (124 per cent year-on-year increase). This increased level of interest resulted in 48,931 leads being generated to Blue Mountains tourism operators.
“This is no small achievement following the devastating downturn post-bushfires,” said Mrs Sage. “I am pleased the local Blue Mountains and state tourism bodies will again be working together on the upcoming campaign and am sure they will achieve similar gains for our region.
“There is no doubt that many businesses still face challenging times but it is heartening to hear that things are improving.”
Mrs Markus said she was pleased to see renewed confidence returning to the region.
“This is testament to the hard work and resilience of our local tourism operators whose professionalism and innovation help enhance the region’s reputation and, of course, our visitor numbers.
“International visitors are increasingly looking for unique experiences and with events such as Sculpture at Scenic World that is exactly what is on offer.”
Scenic World joint managing director David Hammon said the attraction had seen a steady increase in visitor numbers with solid peaks over the summer and Easter school holidays.
“Many tourism operators are to be congratulated on their positive attitude and hard work to attract visitors back to the beautiful Blue Mountains,” said Mr Hammon.
“In addition to local industry innovation, contributions by both state and federal government have been valuable in speeding up the return of visitors that is so vital for the Blue Mountains economy.”