Wednesday, 26 September 2018
NORTHERN Tablelands MP and the State’s Tourism Minister Adam Marshall has joined Glen Innes locals in a rallying cry for votes to see the next Big Thing – the Big Kilt – built in the Celtic Capital of Australia.
Mr Marshall says Glen Innes has a great shot at the voting title to dress up the tablelands town with a new kit – an oversized tourist attraction to further promote its heritage and tourism image.
The Big Kilt is one of four finalists announced by leading online travel site Wotif in a national competition that will gift Australia’s Next Big Thing to one of four centres.
Mr Marshall says the Big Kilt is up against the Big Peanut for Kingaroy, the Big Tulip for Mittagong and the Big Melon for Chinchilla – but the result is in the hands of Australians who get to a popular choice vote to decide the winner.
“I’m right behind the Glen vote – and I’m even more interested in seeing just what we could see what might be under that kilt if Glen Innes wins the grand prize,” Mr Marshall.
“It’s a quirky idea and a great one to support, so I hope all northerners will cast a vote to see Glen get the chance to really dress up the town with something big and bright, and funny.”
“That signature tartan kilt is seen all over Glen when it celebrates its annual festival but we could see it in larger-than-life form if Glen Innes wins.
“Glen has had a festival for 26 years now that celebrates its Scottish and Celtic early history and it’s a huge tourism attraction.”
Aussies are now encouraged to vote for their favourite via www.wotif.com/nextbigthing
The Wotif competition will see the design, production, construction and installation of the winning Next Big Thing completed free of charge to the winning town.
“It would be another feather in their tourism cap if we can dress up Glen Innes with the Big Kilt, and bring even more tourists and tourism dollars to town,” Mr Marshall said.
“Glen Innes is the Gaelic heart of Australia and the Celtic Festival, and the new Outlandish event, are just two ways it showcases that heritage to big visitor numbers.”
Mr Marshall said regional NSW was attracting record visitors and unique events like those in Glen Innes helped increase their tourist potential.
“The tourism sector is booming in the New England and our region recently achieved its highest volumes of domestic overnight expenditure on record,” Mr Marshall said.
“Tourism brings millions of dollars into our local economy and is supporting a tourism jobs increase. Last year Australian tourists alone spent $638 million in the New England North West – up a whopping 33.5 per cent from 2016.”
He said Wotif research suggested that Big Things played a huge role in supporting domestic travel with almost three-quarters or 73 per cent agreeing that Big Things are an inherent part of regional Australian tourism.
“You only have to look at the Big Golden Guitar in Tamworth to see the impact of a big thing on tourism numbers. It’s the most photographed place in Tamworth, so just imagine how a Big Kilt would go down in Glen, especially if we have some fun with what’s underneath it,” Mr Marshall said.
Glen Innes Severn Council, the local chamber of commerce, and business leaders have all joined the lobby group to encourage a mass Glen voting campaign.
Wotif says voting is open now until midday 9 October, with the Next Big Thing planned to be built and unveiled by the end of the year.
Voting is at www.wotif.com/nextbigthing and go the Big Kilt.