Paul Fletcher MP

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Daily Telegraph - Project Sydney: Tourist de force: Wicked pitch of the West

Paul in the Media Tuesday, 06 June 2017

Westen Sydney is aiming to draw up to 14.3 million visitors every year under an ambitious plan to attract tourists.

The tourism strategy — which will coincide with the opening of the new airport at Badgerys Creek — aims to drive visitors to the region and promote drawcards like the Blue Mountains to new audiences.

Backed by heavyweight local outfits including the Penrith Panthers, Parramatta Leagues, Rosehill Gardens and Wet’n’Wild, it is expected to boost the value of Western Sydney’s tourism industry to a whopping $10.2 billion a year and unlock thousands of new local jobs.

The strategy will be unveiled by federal Urban Infrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher and NSW Western Sydney Minister Stuart Ayres today at a forum with Austrade officials and tourism operators at the Twin Creeks Country Club in Luddenham.

“Airports are major generators of jobs and economic activity, and we are engaging early in the planning to ensure we can maximise jobs and economic growth well into the future and … unlock job opportunities closer to home for the two million people living in the growing Western Sydney area,” Mr Fletcher told The Daily Telegraph.

“Western Sydney Airport will be a catalyst for economic transformation in the region and is expected to generate 20,000 direct and indirect jobs by the early 2030s. It will improve aviation access for Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains, opening up tourism opportunities and ensuring greater Sydney’s status as an international gateway as Kingsford-Smith Airport approaches capacity.”

The NSW tourism industry — considered one of the most significant job creators in the region as Western Sydney’s population soars — is expected to grow 7.5 per over the next three years, figures provided to The Daily Telegraph show.

This translates to more than 25,000 new jobs across the industry, according to NSW Tourism Minister Adam Marshall, ahead of the opening of the airport.

Mr Marshall said TAFE is already “gearing up” to meet that challenge by considering how its existing courses and facilities could be improved to take advantage of the growth.

The Daily Telegraph’s Project Sydney campaign, launched today, calls for more government funding in arts and culture in Western Sydney. It also calls for the phenomenally successful Vivid festival to be extended to Parramatta, which Mr Marshall endorsed as a “wonderful idea”.

He added that government wants to lure more ballet, opera and music events to the region. “Arts and culture is a real growth area,” Mr Marshall said. “We’ve concentrated in the past on sports events and we still do, obviously … but it’s the arts and cultural events that can have a lot better legacy.

“If we attract them, you’re exposing new people to some of these events. And the companies that run them, when they come here, they like the facilities that we have and there’s an appetite to continue to come back.”

The Western Sydney Business Connection forum will hear today that visitor growth in Western Sydney could reach 12.8 million by 2030 — up from 9.3 million last year. But under the best case scenario, dubbed the tourism “highway”, 14.3 million extra visitors would arrive. “The visitor sector needs to grow in absolute and relative terms to contribute towards a growing and sustainable Western Sydney,” Amanda Brisot, the group’s general manager, said.

Authorised by Paul Fletcher MP, Level 2, 280 Pacific Highway Lindfield NSW 2070.

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