Tourism pledge: Bellingen, famous for its popular alfresco dining, is in the sights of the Coalition.
Tourism pledge: Bellingen, famous for its popular alfresco dining, is in the sights of the Coalition. Leigh Jensen

Tourism dollars promised

BELLINGEN and Dorrigo will get a quarter-million dollar boost to tourism if the Coalition wins power in NSW on March 26.

NSW Opposition Leader Barry O’Farrell, Shadow Tourism Minister George Souris and Oxley MP Andrew Stoner have announced Mid North Coast Tourism will receive at least $250,000 as part of a $5 million funding injection to regional tourism if the Liberals and Nationals are elected.

“The Mid North Coast can provide visitors with an amazing experience but the Keneally Labor Government’s neglect of regional tourism has seen us lose visitors to other states,” Mr O’Farrell said.

“With Andrew Stoner’s local leadership, the NSW Liberals and Nationals are determined to strengthen the Mid North Coast tourism industry.”

The promised $5 million boost to regional tourism comes on top of the existing $5.1 million in funding per annum for the state’s 13 Regional Tourism Organisations from Tourism NSW.

The Coalition leaders said if they were elected, these additional funds would be used to develop direct tourism product, visitor stays and tourism attractions and destinations, with each mainland regional tourism organisation receiving a $250,000 Regional Tourism Product Development Allocation and the remaining $2 million being shared by regional tourism organisations on larger scale product development initiatives.

“Sadly, for the past 16 years the NSW Labor Government has ignored regional tourism in areas like Bellingen and Dorrigo and underestimated its potential to drive economic growth outside metropolitan areas,” Mr Souris said.

Andrew Stoner confirmed he would continue to fight for support for Mid North Coast tourism operators if elected to government.

“Having lived on the beautiful Mid North Coast for many years, I understand the appeal of our area and know that with this funding boost, our tourism industry will prosper,” Mr Stoner said.

“From a casual stroll through the historical township of Bellingen to hiking in the magnificent Dorrigo rainforest, the Mid North Coast has so much to offer but a lack of government support has left our tourism industry without a competitive advantage.

“As part of a NSW Liberals and Nationals government, I would do everything possible to make sure visitors to Sydney want to head our way, supporting jobs and businesses on the Mid North Coast.”

The Bellingen Shire’s spectacular National Parks, waterfalls and unspoilt beaches; boating, fishing and swimming in the Bellinger and Kalang Rivers; and Dorrigo’s beautiful rural countryside make every drive in the area rewarding.

Coffee shops, restaurants, historic houses, shady streets and secluded bed and breakfast accommodation give the district a very different flavour to neighbouring Coffs Harbour.

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