Byron Shire tourism plan nears completion

Published 13 May 2008

The much anticipated Byron Shire Tourism Management Plan, set to guide the local tourism direction and activities for the next 10 years, is expected to be tabled with Byron Shire Council next month.

A draft of the plan, developed by the Australian Regional Tourism Research Centre (ARTRC) at Southern Cross University (SCU) on behalf of Byron Shire Council, has been sent to stakeholders for final consideration.

Project coordinator Dr Meredith Lawrence said the plan had been prepared on the back of extensive consultation with community groups, industry and government representatives during the past six months.

“We recognised from the outset that to be effective, this plan would need to consider the needs and wants of a very wide and diverse group of people and organisations,” Dr Lawrence said.

“As well as developing a dedicated website to promote the plan and receive feedback, we’ve met with more than 70 groups from across the Shire representing tourism, business, government, community, arts, events, environment and Indigenous groups.

“We also formed a citizen’s jury, made up of 16 community representatives to provide ongoing input into the process. The members of this jury are amongst the stakeholders currently considering the draft plan.

“The draft plan addresses all of those issues identified by our stakeholders at the outset, and maps out a future direction for tourism management in Byron Shire which aims for sustainability at all levels - environmental, economic and social.”

Key elements of the draft include:
• Establishing a Tourism Advisory Committee within Council to manage implementation of the plan;
• Engaging a Tourism Planner/ Officer to provide info and support for the committee;
• Launching a research program to identify tourist attitudes and trends and the associated economic, social and environmental impacts;
• Effective management and maintenance of infrastructure;
• Integrating the plan with other council and State government strategies;
• Sourcing funding for tourism management, development and marketing;
• Developing a consistent image for Byron Shire and its destinations;
• Establishing an education and communication program to ensure visitors, local businesses, local government and the community understand tourism and community values;
• Positioning Byron Shire as a world leading, best-practice, environmentally responsible destination;
• And, developing an Investment and Infrastructure Strategy to identify and attract public and private sector investment.

Byron Shire Mayor Cr Jan Barham said the Tourism Management Plan reinforced Council’s commitment to ensuring the sustainable development, management and marketing of tourism for the region over the next 10 years.

The Council Steering Committee and Tourism Advisory Panel, which represents stakeholder organisations, is meeting today (May 13) to review the strategies and recommendations of the plan. The Citizens Jury will also meet today to provide their feedback.

A Final Plan is expected to be presented to Byron Shire Council on June 12.

For more information about the plan and the ARTRC, visit www.regionaltourism.com.au/ARTRC/destinations/byron/

Media contact: Ray Darney acting general manager Byron Shire Council, on 6626 7161 or Brigid Veale, Southern Cross University communications manager, 66593006 or 0439 680 748.