Draft Tourism Strategy to Build on ECO Destination Profile

Coffs Harbour City

A Draft Tourism Strategy to help the City of Coffs Harbour and the industry further enhance the region’s economy will focus on strengthening the tourism sector, building resilience and discovering new opportunities.

The draft documents will be out for public consultation and feedback from 28 August until 29 September 2023. They can be viewed, and submissions made via the City’s Have Your Say website – haveyoursay.coffsharbour.nsw.gov.au/tourism-strategic-plan

“Since the Coffs Coast was declared NSW’s first ever ECO Destination, the region’s profile as a great place to create unique holiday experiences and memories has grown all around the world,” said Natalia Cowley, City of Coffs Harbour’s General Manager.

“The City’s latest Tourism Strategy aims to capture the latest travel trends to continue to grow an industry that generates more than $282m every year for the region.”

The four key focus areas underpinning the Draft Strategy are:

  • Tourism Marketing, Visitor Information and Branding
  • Tourism Asset and Infrastructure Planning
  • Festivals and Events
  • Visitor Economy, Business Support and Visitor Servicing.

Key drivers for the future of tourism and government funding opportunities are referenced throughout the Draft Strategy including:

  • Sustainable travel such as the Eco-Destination Accreditation.
  • Experiential, transformative, wellness and adventure travel.
  • Multi-generational and accessible travel.
  • Personalisation of experiences.
  • Food and beverage tourism.
  • Business events and events tourism.

Development of the Draft Strategy included an independent study of the effectiveness of the current visitor servicing model. The City provides Visitor Information to meet modern-day user preferences – both before and during their visit. This includes 7 face-to-face Visitor Information Outlets across the local government area, a Visitor Information phone line, Coffs Coast destination website, visitor information pop-ups at events, social media posts and messenger service, and 70+ visitor map/brochure points across the Coffs Coast and beyond. The City also provides up-to-date information and resources for visitor economy businesses to share with customers.

A total of 1.3 million people visited the Coffs Coast in 2022 and an average of 270,000 people visit the Coffs Coast destination website annually.

The model has been used since the single Visitor Information Centre (VIC) in Coffs City Centre (and then later at the Big Banana), was closed in 2017 because of changes to visitor behaviour. Current foot traffic data shows an average of 14,060 visits – around 1% of all visitors – across the 7 Visitor Information Outlets annually, while the old VIC had just over 9,640 annual visits. In 2017 the cost to operate the VIC was $300,000 per year. It now costs the City $28,000 a year to support the 7 Visitor Information Outlets.

Actions planned for the Draft Tourism Strategy will mostly be done as business-as-usual through the City’s Delivery Program, while funds will be sourced for some new proposals or infrastructure projects from budgets or grants.

/Public Release. View in full here.