United front will win tourists

By LEONIE BRANN

UNITED the Tweed tourism industry will succeed, divided it will fail ? that is the word of warning from a local industry body.

Tweed and Coolangatta Tourism Incorporated (TACTIC) general manager Terry Watson said with another 650 hotel rooms being added to the district's accommodation stock this year, the time was now for the industry to work together to make the Tweed a must-see destination.

"In 2003 there were only 1209 hotel rooms in the Tweed, this year there are 1580. But by the end of 2007 there will be about 2800 rooms available," Mr Watson said.

"If we don't supply tourists to meet this market, then the equation is simple - the industry will go broke.

"Which is why we need a co-ordinated approach of the local industry; both the small and big players, with council and government to make sure we don't miss out.

"Out of the 138 local government areas in NSW the Tweed is ranked 16th in the state with the number of visitors it attracts, and we are placed 52nd with the amount of money they spend while visiting.

"But to be able to attract the bigger spenders we need to supply them with things to do and see to spend their money."

Mr Watson said historically, funding to market the Tweed as a destination had been low, but he said that needed to change if the area was to attract the large visitor numbers needed.

"For this financial year we were budgeted $284,000 by Tweed Shire Council to market the district as an attractive destination to tourists, and with that funding we have to also run two visitor information centres, one seven days a week," he said.

"We operate on a total revenue of $590,000 and this is small fry compared to some local government areas.

"It's just not enough to compete with the other aggressive tourism markets.

"Our tourism providers will need to hunt as a pack to get the tourists in, because its an aggressive market out there."

Mr Watson said the type of tourist attracted to the Tweed is more interested in lifestyle than cost.

And this was good news for the district getting more from its tourist dollar.

"For these kind of tourists its about the experience and the lifestyle a destination offers, we just need to capitalise on the area's benefits."



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