The Visitor Economy (Tourism) is a significant economic sector for Gwydir Shire. The Visitor Economy is a broader concept than the tourism industry, incorporating all businesses and activities that benefit, both directly and indirectly, from money spent by travellers. The Visitor Economy is recognised as major driver of economic growth, with growth in the Visitor Economy a strategic priority at both Federal and State Government levels.
Locally, the Visitor Economy contributes an estimated $14.676 million to Gwydir Shire’s output1. Visitors consume a range of goods and services, which injects ‘new’ dollars into the local economy, contributing to the viability of local businesses. Expenditure by visitors generates employment across a range of industry sectors. Tourism also adds to the vibrancy of the area, and is a source of new residents for the Shire, with some visitors deciding to settle in the area, attracted by the setting (scenery), lifestyle, affordability and services available.
On-going development of the Visitor Economy is a core priority of Gwydir Shire Council, recognised in both Council’s Community Strategic Plan and the Gwydir Shire Economic Development Strategy. Gwydir Shire’s economy is highly dependent on, and exposed to, agriculture, with the performance of the agricultural sector impacting directly on most other sectors. This in turn impacts on employment and population. Tourism is not influenced by the performance of the agricultural sector, generating additional income for the Shire, providing cashflow year-round, and reducing exposure and risk for local businesses.
Gwydir Shire Council is a key driver of, and stakeholder in, the Visitor Economy. Council owns the Bingara, Warialda and North Star Caravan Parks, operates the Bingara and Warialda Visitor Information Centres, provides a range of tourist attractions and venues including the Roxy Theatre and The Living Classroom, has a significant investment in the infrastructure and facilities that underpin visitation, supports a range of events and activities, and markets and promotes the Shire. Council is also the regulatory authority in areas such as planning, development and food safety.
In accordance with Federal and State Government policy, Gwydir Shire Council is adopting a ‘destination management’ approach to developing the visitor economy.