Tourism on the Move: Transport can boost NSW tourism industry

Introducing a new Opal Card for tourists and building new rail infrastructure to Bondi, Badgerys Creek and the Bays Precinct should form part of the NSW Government’s integrated tourism and transport strategy, according to a new report released today by the Tourism & Transport Forum Australia (TTF) at the nation’s premier industry conference, Outlook 2015.

“Whether it’s New York’s subway, London’s Underground or Sydney’s ferries, transport can be iconic for a city,” TTF Chief Executive Margy Osmond said today.

“More than being an icon, public transport is a key part of the visitor experience.

“A bad experience on a city’s public transport network is something visitors will talk about. Equally, a good experience helps Sydney present itself as a modern, well-functioning, global city, which in turn helps attract more visitors.

“The NSW Government’s election commitment to an integrated tourism and transport strategy is a major step in the right direction and was a key ask of TTF in the lead up to the state election. By taking a whole of government approach, they will help grow the state’s visitor economy and generate jobs and income for NSW.

“In TTF’s new report, Tourism on the Move, we outline a range of issues that the tourism sector believes must be addressed by the NSW Government in its strategy to improve the experience of visitors using the state’s transport network.

“For example, building new rail links, including extending the Eastern Suburbs Line to Bondi Beach and the South West Rail Link to Badgerys Creek, will substantially improve access for the state’s visitors.

“We are also calling on the NSW Government to start considering rail links to the Bays Precinct as part of the planned renewal of the area.

“A dedicated Opal visitor card which allows unlimited travel on Sydney’s public transport for set periods, including with private commuter ferry operators, and grants access to attractions and cultural institutions, should also be considered.

“This can be modeled on the Copenhagen Card, which offers unlimited travel on the transport network and free admission to 72 of the city’s museums and attractions.

“The dedicated Opal card for visitors should also be available for purchase at tourist information centres, airports and hotels, and available to order online before visitors leave their home country.

“Introducing multilingual Opal top-up machines and multi-lingual signs at tourist transport offices and in highly-frequented visitor areas – as is the case in Brisbane – will also improve the visitor experience.

“Public transport is vital to major events. Transport for NSW should coordinate its rail maintenance work with Destination NSW to ensure rail maintenance work is not scheduled during major cultural and sporting events.

“Developing an easier-to-use and integrated public transport network will make Sydney a better place to live, work and crucially, to visit.

“We welcomed the government’s commitment to prepare an integrated tourism and transport strategy and we hope it will commence work on the policy early in this parliamentary term.”