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Mice Net : August 2009
regional nsw changes attitude, changes in latitude SToRy By Jill innamorati-Varley Climate Change may be a hot topic right now, but for the conference organiser a ‘chilly’ economic climate is spiking a destination change closer to home. professional infrastructure and the venues to host business events and conferences that are not only uniquely different but easy on the hip pocket. Domestic tourism has been identified as one of the best and fastest ways of stimulating local economies and as such hotels and meetings venues have had cause to revise their marketing strategies in order to attract and motivate planners and event organisers as they look with fresh eyes to their own backyard for inspiring places to meet, and where value for money is high on the agenda. Tourism NSW, with its focus on marketing the state’s destinations and holiday experiences to domestic and international markets in addition to providing advice to industry and government agencies and to stimulate investment, have recognised the importance of the business tourism market and now embraces it in its portfolio. From data supplied by Tourism NSW on international and domestic business tourism and sourced from the International Visitor Survey (IVS) Dec 2007 and domestic data from the National Visitor Survey (NVS) Dec 2007, conducted by Tourism Research Australia (TRA), there were 10 million business tourists providing 14.9 million visitor nights and $ 2.8 billion during 2007. The vast majority (89 per cent) of the hearty 10 million business visitors to NSW in 2007 were in the broad grouping of attending for “business or other work”. Attending N o longer is it politically correct or budget wise to head overseas to some sunny clime or foreign destination in order to conference, especially when Regional NSW has the conferences, exhibitions, conventions and trade fairs was the next largest group with 0.8 million. Easy does it Many of New South Wales’ most desirable regions are within easy reach of Sydney - by car, train or plane. Those closest to and within an acceptable 90 minute to two hour drive of the CBD include the Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury River, Central Coast, The Hunter/ Newcastle, the Illawarra, Port Stephens and the Southern Highlands. Beyond these are destinations that are easily accessed by domestic flights, train or coach including Port Macquarie, Mudgee, Coffs Harbour and Byron Bay. Regional accommodation choices are many and varied and come in a galaxy of star ratings, from affordable motel style to gracious country house hotels with beautiful sitting rooms and gardens, mountain resorts with extensive outdoor areas, hotels with small meeting rooms to large conferencing facilities - each conducive to a relaxing and productive stay. Port Stephens Two hours north of Sydney, Port Stephens is an easy to access, easy to organise, easy on the eye and easy on the budget destination where train services run from both Sydney and Brisbane into Newcastle Station while Newcastle Airport services domestic flights. Tailored packages can be organised for a team-building weekend for 10 or a week-long convention for 510 while the best time of the mice.net 101