• Heather Waters

Big Ideas in Action: Better tourism data for Central NSW Councils

When it comes to information for regional organisations, businesses and communities to make decisions, there is no doubt that regional and rural communities suffer from a shortage of robust and regular data. This is certainly the case for tourism data for regional councils who find it impossible to get complete, reliable and up to date data on their local contribution to the tourism sector.

To help solve this issue Central NSW Joint Organisation of Councils have signed on to a pilot program being conducted by WRI to collect more frequent and significant tourism data in the 10 member council areas of Central NSW.

The project is jointly funded by the Western Research Institute, Central NSW Joint Organisation of Councils and its ten Central NSW member councils and Destination Network Country and Outback NSW.

Destination NSW estimated the 6.2 million visitors to the Central West region added $1.8 billion to the NSW economy in the year ending March 2019.

Trying to find what individual councils in the Central West contribute it much harder.

WRI has identified how to fill the gaps and provide councils with current estimates of what they contribute to the NSW visitor economy.

“The ten Central NSW councils participating in the pilot project will help WRI collect information to estimate the number visitors who come to each local government area, how much they really spend and how long they stay.” WRI CEO Kathy Woolley said.

“We also want to consider what is added to the local economies from hosting over a third of visitors to the Central West who stay in the homes of friends or relatives rather than in a hotel, motel or other accommodation type. The share accommodation sector is also strong and not counted in typical visitor economy estimates.”

“The WRI Regional Tourism model will also include additional data to build a more complete picture of the number and the impact visitors to the Central West have.”

An ongoing survey to be completed by visitors at the accommodation providers, visitor information centres and major venues will commence on 16 August 2019. Additional surveying will seek responses from those who host their friends and relatives when they visit the region. The first results will be provided to participating councils and partners in December 2019.

Central NSW Joint Organisation of Councils are a gold sponsor of Big Ideas for Regional NSW.