A doubling in visitor yield, a new name for Newcastle Airport, world-class walking, cycling and kayak routes, more major brand hotels, better transport and service and innovative, new attractions are some of the goals identified in a Destination Management Plan released to grow Port Stephens’ visitor economy into the next decade.
Tabled by Destination Port Stephens for community review and approval by Port Stephens Council, the major 108-page ‘road map’ for tourism as the largest economic driver in the region also calls for the ‘DNA’ or essence of Port Stephens as a destination to be identified and incorporated in a unified brand for the area.
More international visitors, major events and convention business are also needed to build a stronger, year-round appeal of Port Stephens outside the popular summer period, the report says.
The result of 12 months of extensive consultation with industry stakeholders and the community, the Destination Management Plan provides a detailed blueprint for the management and marketing of Port Stephens as a sustainable visitor destination up to 2020, with recommendations on how attractions, activities, infrastructure, transport and promotion can be improved.
Destination Port Stephens Chairman, Michael Aylmer said the plan was a blueprint for more collaboration across all sectors of business in the region to boost the many economic and social benefits tourism brought to the region. “The report underlines the importance of partnerships with other regions and with all facets of the local business and residential community to drive tourism development for the benefit of all,” Mr Aylmer said. “A stronger and more vibrant visitor economy is our number one goal.”
Destination Port Stephens Marketing Manager, Tars Bylhouwer, who developed the Destination Management Plan, said the document provided a crucial “health check” for the tourism industry. “What we have now is a comprehensive and holistic perspective of the visitor economy in Port Stephens that identifies key directions the industry needs to take in order to grow and prosper,” Mr Bylhouwer said.
“The preparation of the report showed there is an amazing level of interest in the community in how we can grow our visitor economy and make Port Stephens a better place to visit and live in and this plan shows how this shared and robust vision can be achieved.”
Amongst the many recommendations in the report are calls for the region’s airport to be renamed Newcastle- Port Stephens Airport, more interstate flights from the airport, better public transport to and within the region, more car rental services, a unified branding of the region embraced by the whole community, a world-class seaside walking trail from Anna Bay to Tomaree Headland, the mapping of kayak and cycle routes, larger conference facilities, more nationally branded resorts and hotels, more high-end dining experiences, better signage, more diverse attractions, improved infrastructure at Anna Bay near the popular sand dunes and increased focus on the themes of food and wine, adventure, health and wellbeing and nature.
The Destination Management Plan is on public display on Destination Port Stephens’ corporate website –www.portstephenstourism.com.au/corporate/reports-and-papers/.