The Hunter Valley is set to tap further into the lucrative conferencing market, following the announcement of the NSW Government’s Regional Conferencing Strategy and Action Plan.
The $6 million strategy aims to build capability, improve the state’s competitive position, stimulate demand and return the sector to growth.
Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Association chairman George Souris said Hunter wine country was in the prime position to capitalise on any new impetus for regional business tourism and conferencing.
Mr Souris said conferencing was usually a weekday activity and therefore directly beneficial to the occupancy pattern of the Hunter Valley.
He said the Hunter's proximity to Sydney and Newcastle Airport’s, and the M1 motorway, Hunter Expressway and soon the NorthConnex, are all significant advantages.
"We have 3000 rooms, in a range of accommodation including five-star, several international golf resorts, hundreds of food venues including hatted restaurants, winery cellar doors and a multitude of entertainment choices,” he said.
Mr Souris commended tourism and events minister Adam Marshall and the NSW Government for this new investment in the regional conferencing market.
Mr Marshall said the business events sector presented a significant growth opportunity for regional destinations, and strategy and action plan would ensure that growth was realised.
“From the bush to the coast, we want every conference planner to know that regional NSW can offer delegates both an opportunity to do business and the chance to explore our fantastic tourism offerings,” he said.
Actions include the establishment of a Regional Conferencing Unit within Destination NSW; the launch of a website portal called ‘Meet in Regional NSW’; development of a NSW Regional Conferencing Toolkit which offers the tools and tips of the trade for regional business event suppliers and the launch of a pilot NSW Regional Conferencing Development Grants Program.
The regional conferencing strategy was among the topics discussed at the HVWTA’s meeting with tourism Mr Marshall in May.
The Armidale-based minister will return to the Hunter Valley on August 25 for the Clear View Hunter Valley Wine Show celebration lunch at Crowne Plaza.