On the 10th May, parties interested in Yass Valley and Hilltops tourism participated in a planning workshop conducted by Destination NSW, the lead government agency for the NSW tourism and major events sectors. The workshop was held at the Murrumbateman Country Inn.
Yass Valley participants included Councillor Cayla Pothan, Georgia Patmore, Senior Destination Marketing Officer, and representatives from businesses including Blackwattle Alpaca Farm, Robyn Rowe Chocolates, and local wineries.
The aim of the workshop was to help develop a NSW Destination Management Plan that articulates the unique offerings of regional NSW.
Participants learned that in 2019, 7.9 million visitors came to NSW, bringing 2.3 billion dollars into the economy. Destination NSW has a plan to help the State recover after the COVID-19 downturn, which involves building our brand, showcasing our strengths, investing in world-class events, and facilitating growth.
Participants were placed into small groups and firstly asked to identify points of differentiation for Hilltops and the Yass Valley. Points such as our unique history, district seasonality, and the plethora of small producers who “punch above their weight” in terms of winning prestigious awards were raised. The second item for discussion was the unique experiences that we provide for tourists. Events such as the Harvest Festival, Yass Valley Art Trail, Truffle Festival, Cooma Cottage, and wineries such as Tallagandra, Clonakilla, and Helm were all mentioned. The third thing participants were asked to identify were the emotions that we wanted our visitors to have: words such as “warmth” and expressions like “You will meet the maker” and “You’ll be pleasantly surprised” were put forward for the Yass Valley region.
The final activity of the morning was to identify actions that could be taken to enhance visitor experiences. Issues such as the creation of immersive visitor information centres, enhanced connectivity, enhanced business collaboration and more specific items such as creating itineraries for visitors that are built on opening hours for businesses were all put forward.
Once the Destination NSW have concluded their state-wide consultation process, the draft Management Plan will be available for participants to comment on. The expectation is that the Plan will be finalised and launched in July this year.
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