NSW Tourism: Tax bonus should be spent on a regional NSW short break, ministers say

COME STAY: Ministers and tourism experts are encouraging people to spend their tax time bonus in regional NSW to help struggling drought-affected communities. Photo: FILE
COME STAY: Ministers and tourism experts are encouraging people to spend their tax time bonus in regional NSW to help struggling drought-affected communities. Photo: FILE

BATHURST, Oberon, Orange, Cootamundra, Mudgee and the Blue Mountains have been singled out as the perfect "short break" for people looking to spend their tax time bonus.

Low and middle income earners who will receive a tax time bonus of up to $1080 have been urged to take a short break in regional NSW to help struggling drought-affected communities.

The calls were made by NSW Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres and backed by Minister for Agriculture and Western NSW Adam Marshall.

"In the year ending March 2019, NSW welcomed 40 million overnight visitors to our state who injected nearly $33 billion into the tourism economy," Mr Ayres said.

"Tourism is one of the best ways to help regional towns in times of drought. Over 90,000 people are employed in the visitor economy across regional NSW."

Mr Marshall said there was no doubt the state's primary industries sector had been severely affected by the drought and communities were feeling flow-on economic impacts.

In the past year NSW welcomed 40 million overnight visitors who injected nearly $33 billion into the tourism economy.

NSW Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres

"Our state's regional towns also have an abundance of wonderful attractions - from historic townships and wineries to fine dining and pubs," he said.

Central NSW Joint Organisation chair John Medcalf the tourism multiplier shows the community benefits by $1.92 for every dollar spent by visitors.

"The NSW Business Chamber 2018 Drought survey indicated that 93.9 per cent of businesses in our region have been negatively impacted by drought," he said.

FAMOUS: Mayfield Garden attracts thousands of visitors every year. Photo: FILE

FAMOUS: Mayfield Garden attracts thousands of visitors every year. Photo: FILE

"The butchers, bakers and hairdressers as well as the agriculture related businesses like farm machinery. That was last year, it is only getting worse."

Western NSW Business Chamber regional manager Vicki Seccombe said the minister might have only singled out a few locations in the region, but she said there was much more on offer.

"Western NSW offers a huge variety of cultural, food and lifestyle experiences which are excellent," she said.

"We have a vibrant food and wine industry, then there are farm stays right across the region, stargazing in the Warrumbungles, opal mining in Lightning Ridge, not to forget the zoo, caves and aboriginal cultural tours in and around Dubbo - what's not to like about all of that," she said.

Caddie Marshall who is general manager of Orange 360, a membership based group that promotes the Orange, Blayney and Cabonne regions, said data shows on average visitors will spend $455 per person during a two to three night stay in the region.

TOP DROPS: Philip Shaw Wines is one of the many wineries attracting visitors to Orange. Photo: FILE

TOP DROPS: Philip Shaw Wines is one of the many wineries attracting visitors to Orange. Photo: FILE

"But, we believe it's higher and certainly around festivals that can double or even triple," she said.

"The flow-on effect from that is that it gives other businesses the encouragement to employ more people."

Ms Marshall said a number of Sydneysiders were among the attendees at last weekend's Winter Fire Festival event in Eugowra.

While on Friday, 4000 people from across the region flocked to Millthorpe for an event featuring markets, live music, craft beers and food.

Love local news?

Why not subscribe.