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Strategy to boost tourism outlined

Attendants networking before the event began.

On Wednesday morning, around 50 local business managers and tourism operators gathered at the Tumut River Brewing Co for a free Tourism Boost event run by Destination Riverina Murray.

Richie Robinson is the General Manager of Destination Riverina Murray, one of six Destination Networks established in 2017 to increase tourism and work towards achieving the NSW Government’s overnight visitor expenditure goal for 2020.

The Tourism Boost events are designed to share an update on the initiatives available to re-energise the tourism sector following the devastating bushfires that have affected the region in recent months.

“[Today we want to] give tourism businesses in the whole region, but specifically the Snowy Valleys area, confidence that there is various organisations like ours, or Destination NSW or Tourism Australia out there supporting them and trying to help them get back on their feet after a slow period in January,” Mr Robinson said.

He suggested that tourism could begin to play a much larger role in the region’s economy, especially because the Forestry and Agricultural industries took a big hit during the bushfires.

“There’s a big opportunity to not only rebuild the tourism industry, but to take a bigger space in the economy,” he said.

Other speakers and representatives at the event included Liz Ward from Tourism Tribe who spoke about digital marketing and presenting businesses online, Tourism Australia who spoke about the Holiday Here This Year Campaign which encourages Australian’s to travel domestically, and Rebecca Mason from Google who explained how to improve Google listings and manage Google advertising. The Snowy Valleys Council and National Parks were also present to provide updates and information to attendees.

During the event, Destination Riverina Murray highlighted various Instagram campaigns that have arisen to help fire-affected communities, following the success of viral initiatives #buyfromthebush and #stayinthebush that were created to support drought-affected communities last year.

The new social media campaigns include #spendwiththem which works to help rebuild towns and businesses affected by fire, #emptyesky for foodies and adventurers to support local businesses, #visitwiththem which showcases events and celebrations, and #roadtripforgood which encourages people to plan roadtrips to support communities affected by fires.

The event also highlighted that as part of the Australian Government’s $2bn National Bushfire Recovery Fund, $76 million is being invested in a tourism recovery package with the aim of protecting jobs, small businesses and local economies and helping tourists travel across Australia again.

Other initiatives on offer from the Government is the Disaster Recovery Payment, providing $1000 to each eligible adult and $400 for each eligible dependent, the Disaster Recovery Allowance providing income support payment for up to 13 weeks, the Emergency Support for Primary Producers with grants of up to $75,000, the Assistance for Small Business initiative, Recovery Grants of up to $50,000, Concessional Loans of up to $500,000, the Small Business Financial Support Line (which is currently being established), Tax Support and Tax Exemptions for Disaster Relief Payments.

Mr Robinson said “there was a really positive mood in the room, both before the event started and then particularly afterwards.

“I think people are feeling pretty optimistic and looking forward to getting on with the job.”