Destination Tweed looks to future

IT is an exciting time for Phil Villiers to be out promoting the Tweed region, a time he sees as full of opportunity.

Mr Villiers is the boss of the newly formed Destination Tweed, in charge of marketing and promoting tourism and business investment for the region.

Kingscliff will soon welcome an estimated 20,000 visitors when it hosts the NSW Surf Life Saving Championships; the Jack Evans Boat Harbour Revitalisation Project is ongoing, and the Gold Coast Airport is expanding its services.

As those events progress, Mr Villiers said he would continue to strengthen the strong relations in the region's business and tourism communities.

“We are getting back to relationships. Relationships with our members, with Northern Rivers Tourism, Tour- ism NSW, Tourism Australia and Connecting Southern Gold Coast,” Mr Villiers said.

“We have some wonderful relationships and are starting to gel all levels of business, government and the chambers; there are some fantastic relationships out there.”

He hoped the triumphant party at the NSW elections in March would be prepared to work with the Tweed.

“Hopefully the State government, whether it is Coalition or Labor, looks at what is needed here from a business perspective.”

Mr Villiers was the former Tweed Tourism general manager, before the organisation was awarded an extra Tweed Shire Council contract to promote business investment in the shire. He said there had been new staff appointments recently to cover those areas and the organisation was creating strategies for the next four years.

Mr Villiers said the club industry had an important place in Tweed's economy but was facing challenges.

“Besides the council, it is one off the largest employers in the area. They also purchase goods and services from local companies and play an important part in the economy of the Tweed,” he said.

The Federal Government was looking at imposing further conditions on clubs to halt problem gambling.

“There are some pretty extreme measures they are looking at to impose on the club industry, which could make its situation as a viable business very, very difficult. It is quite scary really.”

Mr Villiers said the Jack Evans Boat Harbour project would boost the Tweed Heads CBD.

“The revitalisation of the Jack Evans Boat Harbour is going to be a catalyst for something really special for the people of the Tweed, and we will also see good growth in CBD development once that takes place.”

The conference industry was becoming an increasingly successful aspect to Tweed's economy, Mr Villiers said.

“The conferences bring a big spend to the region, the people who come to the conferences spend more money than domestic tourists.”

Mr Villiers originally arrived in the area from Melbourne in 1981 to play Aussie Rules Football with the Cool- angatta Blues.

He spent 21 years with Twin Towns Services Club before taking up the job with Tweed Tourism more than three years ago.

He is the vice chairman of Cooly Rocks On; is a director of the Tweed Chamber of Commerce and is the vice chairman of the Johnny O'Keefe memorial statue.

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