Central Coast Tourism Incorporated
CENTRAL COAST TOURISM INCORPORATED
Mr McBRIDE (The Entrance) [5.09 p.m.]: In December 1994 Central Coast Tourism Incorporated was formed to replace the local tourist associations who were totally dependent on council funding and were only involved in the operation of visitor information centres. Since then, Central Coast Tourism developed into a self-funding regional tourist organisation, twice winning - in 1996 and 1997 - the New South Wales Award for Excellence in Tourism as best regional tourism organisation. I am delighted to advise the House that Central Coast Tourism received the award for the third consecutive time at last night’s award presentations.
I congratulate the Chairman of Central Coast Tourism, Peter Hale, and the Chief Executive Officer on their success. More importantly, Central Coast Tourism developed successful marketing initiatives that were constantly monitored and evaluated in the domestic and international markets. That brought tangible returns to its shareholders. The success of the marketing initiatives undertaken by Central Coast Tourism are reflected in the outstanding response rate and actual bookings converted over the past three years. The success of Central Coast Tourism marketing activities are evidenced in the increase of consumer responses monitored through specially introduced 1800 numbers. Over the past two years, the increase in consumer response was 371 per cent. The combined 1800 and standard numbers used in Central Coast Tourism’s information and reservation system averaged over 5,000 incoming calls per month.
The success of the marketing campaign is also reflected in the actual bookings through the centralised information and reservation system. For example, accommodation bookings for the peak period of December have increased from 80,000 in 1997 to 140,000 in 1998. Overall, the Australia Bureau of Statistics and Tourism New South Wales statistics show the success of the region. In 1990-91 the number of visits was 778,000. In 1996-97 the number of visits had increased to 2,028,000, a growth of 162 per cent. In 1990-91 expenditure was $198 million and in 1996-97 it was $384 million, an increase of 94 per cent. These results have been achieved with funds raised through membership and dollar-for-dollar funding from New South Wales Tourism.
I should also like to mention some of the other good things happening on the Central Coast in relation to tourism. The Entrance Town Centre, which was completed last year at a cost of some $15 million, received the Bluett Award in 1996-97, municipal government’s highest award, because of its outstanding success as a local government development and also as a private sector type activity. The Minister for Gaming and Racing has witnessed the changes that have occurred and the subsequent development. I should also mention that this year, the Mingara Club received the New South Wales club of the year award, which was presented by the Minister for Gaming and Racing.
The central coast also has the Australian Springtime Flora Festival, the region’s major tourist
event. It was introduced in 1987 and has been managed through Central Coast Tourism Incorporated since 1995. The festival has attracted major sponsorship from Yellow Pages Australia. It is currently held over four days in mid-September at Mount Penang, which has magnificent views over Brisbane Water. The festival attracted 87 visitors last year. Research undertaken by Central Coast Tourism indicates a steady increase in visitors of 30 per cent in the past three years. The festival has developed into the largest of its type in New South Wales.
It has won the New South Wales Award for Excellence in Tourism in both the major and significant regional festival categories. Each year, three hectares of grassland are transformed into an exciting display of landscaped garden settings, interspersed with exhibits and demonstrations of garden crafts providing a total picture of garden and outdoor living. The festival is now reaching the stage that it could be developed into something greater. It has the possibility of presenting itself as the major garden festival for New South Wales. It is hoped that it will develop into the premier garden festival for the whole of Australia.
Mr FACE (Charlestown - Minister for Gaming and Racing, and Minister Assisting the Premier on Hunter Development) [5.14 p.m.]: I commend the honourable member for The Entrance for raising this matter. I will refer his comments to the Minister for Tourism who, for the third time, presented Central Coast Tourism - under the chairmanship of Peter Hale, whom I know very well - with the award to which the honourable member for The Entrance has referred. Peter Hale has made a significant contribution not only to tourism on the central coast but more recently to the club industry. As the Minister Assisting the Premier on Hunter Development and as the representative of an electorate close to the central coast I am aware of activities there. Anyone who travels the highway would realise that the central coast has become a playground for people from Sydney not only on the weekend but also during the week. It is not only a Christmas holiday destination; along with the Hunter, it is probably the most popular coastal area during holiday periods.
I congratulate the Mingara Club on taking out the club of the year award this year. I congratulate the president, the chief executive and everyone involved. The facility is second to none and is attracting people from outside the local environs. These are very positive aspects of the central coast. I hope the good work in tourism which was acknowledged and alluded to by the Minister for Tourism today in question time is not affected by the antics of the One Nation Party. I say that with some authority. Last year I led a trade mission from the Hunter to South-east Asia after Pauline Hanson had received some publicity. I spent all my time, together with Bob Cotton, the ambassador to Malaysia, putting out fires. Trying to deal with those types of antics is very time consuming when one is trying to boost trade. [Time expired.]