Richmond Valley seizes new tourism opportunities with release of strategic destination plan

RICHMOND Valley Council is gearing up for an exciting future for tourism in the Valley with the release of the draft Richmond Valley Destination Management Plan 2021-2025, which is now on exhibition for public feedback.

The draft plan sets an overall strategy to guide the work of Council and local stakeholders to support the sustainable growth and development of the Richmond Valley visitor economy as an appealing tourism region within the Northern Rivers region of NSW.

One of its key aims is to encourage tourism business investment in the area to support the ongoing development of diverse tourism offerings right across the Valley, from the coast to the rural hinterland.

Council’s Manager Tourism Sharon Davidson said the Richmond Valley visitor economy had been growing incrementally over the past five years, in line with other Northern Rivers local government areas.

Ms Davidson said the draft Richmond Valley Destination Management Plan proposed innovative and realistic strategies to assist in developing, managing and marketing the Richmond Valley visitor economy over the next five years.

She said tourism was estimated to contribute around $78 million in direct visitor expenditure to the Richmond Valley economy per year.

She said domestic day trips accounted for 59 percent of visitors to the region, and domestic overnight visitors account for 40 percent of visitors.

“With our popular year-round coastal destination of Evans Head, and the rural heritage heartland destination of Casino, as well as the villages of Broadwater, Coraki, New Italy, Rappville and Woodburn, the Richmond Valley offers a huge range of visitor experiences,” Ms Davidson said.

With the public exhibition period now underway, Ms Davidson said now was the time for tourism-related businesses and other stakeholders to have input into the final plan.

“Our recent Discover Richmond Valley advertising campaign, Explore Next Door, did a fantastic job of showcasing our region’s unique qualities, and is sure to inspire new visitors,” she said.

“International travel restrictions from COVID-19 have also supercharged the appeal of regional Australia as a destination of choice for domestic travellers, and the Richmond Valley is in an excellent position to attract its share of visitors from near and far.

“That is why it is important that Council and local stakeholders now set a strategic agenda for the future.”

Ms Davidson said Council had an important leadership role in strategic destination management across the Richmond Valley local government area.

This included funding support and coordination of destination marketing initiatives, events and visitor information services, as well as strategic planning, and infrastructure development to support sustainable tourism development.

She said Council also worked with other tourism bodies on the Northern Rivers and was a founding member of the Northern Rivers NSW brand initiative.

“The visitor economy is an increasingly important pillar of the overall Richmond Valley economy and strengthening its position is a priority for Council,” Ms Davidson said.

Funding was received from the Australian Government’s Building Better Regions Fund (community stream) for the development of the Richmond Valley Destination Management Plan 2021-2025.

Ms Davidson said Council was keen to receive feedback from the community on the plan’s contents, in particular the five strategic priorities and associated actions.

A copy of the draft Richmond Valley Destination Management Plan 2021-2025 is available for viewing and downloading on the On Exhibition page at www.richmondvalley.nsw.gov.au

Any person may make a submission in writing to Council by one of the following methods:

Submissions close 4pm, Friday 29 January.

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