Coastal tourism inflates economy

TOURISM generates 19,700 South Coast jobs and contributes $2billion to the region's economy, according to a new report.

The profile by the South Coast Regional Tourism Organisation (SCRTO) covers Wollongong, Shellharbour, Kiama, Shoalhaven, Jervis Bay, Eurobodalla and Bega Valley.

It showed three million domestic visitors spent more than 11million nights and $1.4billion in the region in the 2012/2013 financial year.

Another 6.1million domestic day visitors were also counted in the same period, spending more than $530million.

The report showed there were 103,000 international visitors to the region last year. 

International overnight visitors spent more than $116 million

The South Coast was the third most popular destination in NSW for domestic tourists, after Sydney and the North Coast. 

In the Sapphire Coast region, tourism provided employment for 3000 jobs and contributed $313million to the local economy.

Anthony Osborne from Sapphire Coast Tourism (SCT) believed the reason tourists came to the Sapphire Coast was because of its unique beauty. 

“Its (the Sapphire Coast’s) unique appeal is its unspoilt nature and world-class coastal wilderness,” Mr Osborne said.  

“Destinations north and south of the east coast capital cities are becoming busier, and development pressure has made some destinations less appealing to travellers looking to experience nature, particularly coastal.” 

SCT has recently taken steps to further promote tourism in the region, focusing on our unique natural attractions. 

These steps include creating a family of websites for major towns, employing a full-time digital and social media coordinator to make the most of tourism’s most critical media channels, and making digital advertising partnerships with other tourism agencies such as the National Parks and Wildlife Service and SCRTO. 

“Our neighbours and the regional tourism body SCRTO enable us to work together to promote our strengths,” Mr Osborne said. 

- with Illawarra Mercury

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