Tourism report neglects NSW coach sector


The NSW Government's ‘ambitious’ plan to double overnight visitor expenditure has neglected coach industry needs

Tourism report neglects NSW coach sector
Tourism report neglects NSW coach sector

September 4, 2012

A report compiled to assist an ‘ambitious’ government goal
to double overnight visitor expenditure in New South Wales has neglected the infrastructure needs of the coach industry, the state's bus association says.

The 191-page Visitor Economy Taskforce Report highlights improvements
to air access and cruise infrastructure as vital to growing tourism, but fails to fully detail the coach industry’s growing infrastructure needs, according to BusNSW Executive Director Darryl Mellish.

Mellish says he welcomes many of the report's recommendations, but says
they could have gone further regarding the needs of land transport and how the coach industry links destinations.

"It talks about airport and ports but, in our view, there was a missed opportunity to push a bit harder on the coach facilities, particularly in the CBD at the airport and around the railway," Mellish says.

"To deliver those tourism objectives you want to move people, so we were hoping there would be more in it from the point of view of increasing the productivity of coach travel, not just air travel and cruise ships."

Mention of the bus and coach industry was not completely absent from the report, which highlights the need for priority lane access for buses travelling between the city
and the airport.

Also mentioned was the need for expansion of the Sydney bus network services to and from the airport, and the development of a plan to facilitate bus and mini-bus access to a centralised transit point or points at the airport terminal precincts.

According to Mellish, the coach sector contributes more than $5 billion dollars to the Australian economy each year.

"Tourists who travel by coach have been known to spend more time and therefore more money, than those who fly," he says.

But Mellish says coach parking within the city is still a major concern for operators and tourists.

"Tourists can be left stranded kilometres away from their destination due to parking restrictions enforced by multiple jurisdictions," Mellish says.

He says with projected growth in coach movements – in line with tourism goals and objectives – the problem is only going to worsen.

"BusNSW believes a partnership approach between industry and Government is required to build on the high value return bus and coach tourism delivers," Mellish says.

BusNSW Coach Branch Chairman Karim Hussain says existing coach parking facilities and accessibility arrangements within the Sydney CBD through to the Airport and Central railway station do need to be reviewed.

But he says the government also needs to focus more on the promotion of public transport services in rural and regional areas.

"There is a focus on Sydney CBD, which will be important in delivering tourism objectives, but Government should not lose sight of the economic and social benefits generated by Regional Tourism, and the role of bus and coach services in transporting tourists throughout the State," Hussain says.

The Visitor Economy Taskforce was set up late last year as a feature of the NSW Government’s State Plan 2021, which includes investment and development of the local tourism industry.

The full report is available at http://www.business.nsw.gov.au/doing-business-in-nsw/industry-action-plans/visitor-economy-taskforce

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