Tuesday, 7 March 2017
WHETHER you’re looking to tear up a pine track on a mountain bike, relax in artesian springs or sip a locally sourced Riesling, the Northern Tablelands has something to offer every traveller. Part of the region’s success is its incredible variety – each town and ecosystem is remarkably unique, with a vivid history and range of activities to offer tourists from city or country.
Now they have one thing in common – they’re all in the running for a $100 million from the NSW Government’s new Regional Growth – Environmental and Tourism Fund, aimed at growing and diversifying local economies.
Communities across the Northern Tablelands are being urged to submit expressions for the first round of funding, which offers $100 million of the total. The guidelines are broad, aiming to cater to as many community groups as possible.
Minister for Tourism and Major Events and Member for the Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall says the region has a rich network of tourist destinations – any of which could benefit from the funding.
“Whether you’re catering to fossickers, fishers, or farm-stays there’s a huge variety of businesses that are drawing tourists to the Northern Tablelands,” Mr Marshall said.
“Events like the Glen Innes Celtic Festival and Opera in the Paddock are huge drawcards to attract visitors, and with a wealth of natural beauty there’s plenty of opportunity for eco-tourism.
“Each visitor helps drive valuable employment for the local area and brings money into our communities. This large funding pool offers a chance for communities to open up new environmental or tourist attractions – it’s not just to expand what we already have.
“I imagine we’ll see new camping locations, food and drink experiences and more accessible heritage sites as a result of this investment. The opportunities are really only limited by your imagination.”
Mr Marshall said it’s a demonstration of the NSW Government’s ongoing commitment to rural and regional tourism.
“The State’s rural and regional tourism industry is now welcoming 17 per cent more overnight visitors than in 2011 and I am looking forward to promoting its continued growth in the years to come,” he said.
Regional tourism contributes $14.4 billion to NSW, directly employing 84,600 people.
Initial expressions of interest are now being sought from local and state government agencies; Aboriginal Land Councils and other Aboriginal groups; community groups registered as incorporated associations; and non-government organisations.
To apply, contact the Department of Industry’s regional office or go to the department’s website www.industry.nsw.gov.au/rgetf
Applications are now open and close on 6 April.