Macquarie Street met the Mountains when a contingent of Blue Mountains, Lithgow and Oberon Tourism representatives attended a ‘Meet the Minister’ function at State Parliament on Tuesday, August 21.
Blue Mountains State MP Roza Sage hosted the Tourism Industry Council (TIC) NSW event, at which NSW tourism Minister George Souris attended along with State Bathurst MP Paul Toole, TIC chairman Ken Corbett and a strong contingent of Blue Mountains tourism operators among the 70 guests.
"I was pleased to see that the Blue Mountains is identified in the Visitor Economy Taskforce Report as the highest awareness regional NSW destination in the Australian domestic market," said Mrs Sage.
"The tourism industry in the Blue Mountains is a primary economic driver, has strong industry leadership and through Blue Mountains, Lithgow and Oberon Tourism all stakeholders work collaboratively to achieve outcomes."
Mrs Sage also invited the gathered crowd to take a BMLOT showbag including chocolates from Josophan’s Fine Chocolates in Leura and The Paragon in Katoomba.
Tourism operators to attend the function included Lorraine and Roger Allanson from Mountain Whispers, Glenda Lane from Blue Mountains Connections, TIC chairman Garry Crockett and David Arnott from Leisure Resources.
It was also a good opportunity for BMLOT chairman Randall Walker and new CEO James Shearer to network with their regional tourism organisation counterparts from Central NSW, Snowy Mountains and Central Coast as well as industry representatives from neighbouring areas Penrith and Hawkesbury.
BMLOT members who attended also appreciated the opportunity to mingle with tourism industry organisation representatives such as AAA Tourism and Australian Hotels Association and politicians.
Mr Walker praised Ms Sage for her proactive support of the tourism industry: "We as an industry can be very proud that Roza Sage is a genuinely committed local member and strong advocate for tourism, recognising the significant number of jobs provided and half a billion dollars a year injected into the regional economy," he said.
Mr Souris gave a brief overview of the recently released Visitor Economy Taskforce report, which recommended a blueprint for the State Government and industry to work together to reinvigorate the NSW tourism and aim to double overnight visitor expenditure to NSW by 2020.
A whole-of-government response to the report would be developed by the end of the year, he said.
The government was working to target new growth in visitor economy with the 2012-13 NSW Budget committing $125 million a year to Destination NSW activities for the next four years to help rebuild the NSW economy by supporting tourism, business conferences and major events.
It would provide a full response to the Visitor Economy Report that not only maximised the economic benefits of the international visitor economy for Sydney but "just as importantly, our regional communities like the Blue Mountains, Lithgow and Oberon region, said Mr Souris.
"Almost half of our tourism jobs reside in the regions together with some of our strongest visitor economy assets."