The Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF) is urging the NSW Government to grow the state’s booming visitor economy with increased investment across the tourism and transport sectors in next week’s 2017-18 State Budget.
TTF Chief Executive, Margy Osmond, said that with continued targeted investment by the Berijiklian Government, tourism will remain a super-growth industry and ensure that NSW remains a great place to live and to visit into the future.
“NSW has earned its crown as the nation’s largest visitor economy with strong investment in the sector in recent budgets, but with ever-increasing competition from States and Territories who are recognising the importance of tourism to their economies, NSW must not take its position at the top of the tree for granted and continue to invest to support the growth of the sector,” Ms Osmond said.
“Tourism is crucial to the growth of the NSW economy, generating $37.1 billion in consumption and employing more than 171,000 people across the state.
“To ensure NSW realises the full potential of its visitor economy, the government must commit to maintain business events funding, enhance nature-based tourism experiences, promote regional tourism, and support the growth of the NSW cruise shipping by providing long-term certainty around planning and investment for the cruise industry.
“Most importantly, however, the NSW Government must ensure it maintains funding for Destination NSW to ensure that NSW remains in a prime position to capitalise on domestic and international tourism into the future.”
Ms Osmond said TTF’s pre-budget statement released today urged the Berijiklian Government to also invest in critical road and public transport infrastructure projects and increase transport services across NSW.
“Targeted investment in road and public transport infrastructure projects is critical to ensuring that NSW is able to meet the challenge of future population growth, particularly in Western Sydney, and is able to minimise the future costs of congestion,” Ms Osmond said.
“At the top of the list must be a commitment to work with the Federal Government to secure funding to ensure that a rail connection linking Western Sydney Airport with Parramatta and the Sydney CBD is constructed prior to the commencement of operations at the airport in 2026, and to fast-track funding and deliver an ironclad timeline for Stage 2 of the Parramatta Light Rail project, linking Camellia to Strathfield via Sydney Olympic Park.
“Investment in integrated transport options is also critical to support economic growth and to increase visitor numbers across NSW by encouraging greater regional dispersal. Increased investment in regional rail and road infrastructure, along with better facilities and more reliable services, will encourage visitors to leave the city and explore some of our world-class regional destinations such as the North Coast, Southern Highlands, Broken Hill and the Blue Mountains.”
TTF’s 2017-18 NSW Budget Submission can be accessed here.