With talks about Western Sydney Airport and other big developments coming to Liverpool and surrounds, some local businesses and residents feel they have been left in limbo – awaiting action.
To discuss future proposals the NSW Business Chamber executive manager of tourism, Dean Goddard spoke at a Southwest Sydney Tourism Taskforce forum held at Ibis Styles last Wednesday.
At the event Mr Goddard spoke about new plans outlined in the Western Sydney Visitor Economy Strategy.
The new strategy by Destination NSW identifies problems and ways to grow the visitor economy.
“We were really pleased to see the strategy put in place,” he said.
“It’s still a proposal in it’s largest form – the government has announced nine strategic goals in this plan and I think it’s going to be backed up with 67 actions so the release of all those actions will come into place soon.”
During the conference a few members of the tourism taskforce voiced their concerns about Parramatta being a focus in Western Sydney.
They said it was time for Liverpool, Fairfield and other areas to get more funding for events, a key for visitor attraction.
In response, Mr Goddard said the Business Chamber has been outsourced to conduct product and cultural audits of Western Sydney in October.
He said these will form a basis for future event development, planning and campaigns. But it remains a waiting game for now.
“There’s been a lot of talk and it’s time for action so we look forward to working with other industry bodies to bring the hotels together and discuss what needs to be done.”
“It’s a really exciting time in south-west Sydney as a whole, we’re seeing double-digit growth in Sydney and parts of regional NSW. It has amazing potential to grow.”
According to Mr Goddard, the region attracts about $4.2 billion of visitor expenditure but the Western Sydney Airport at Badgerys Creek could cause a serious boost in infrastructure and adventure products.
“Western Sydney already has some amazing adventure product experiences led by companies like Wet N’ Wild, so I think there’s a real buzz.
“There are Asian markets like the Chinese markets for example, who are staying in these areas and there are various reasons – through relatives, through the education sector or because they’re looking for value for money and don’t want to necessarily stay in the traditional Sydney CBD. So they’re looking for locations where they can get access to a variety of experiences.”
So what are the key problems that concerned him?
“The main warning is to not remain fragmented. I think industry is generally fragmented and I don’t think that’s the fault of operators. It’s just the nature of the fact that Western Sydney hasn’t been seen as a destination in the past.
“But that time has come for change. The NSW Business Chamber has been calling for the NSW Government to form a Destination Network West, which we believe should include the Blue Mountains and Western Sydney. And the role of that destination network would be to undertake some really widespread co-ordination work among the hotels, attractions and visitor economy.”