What Boorowa (and Hilltops) Needs to Thrive

Written by: The Hilltops Phoenix

Alison-Mead

On Wednesday the 23rd of March, Alison Mead, the Industry Development Manager for Destination Southern NSW, informed and engaged the crowd at a Boorowa Rotary event, held at the Boorowa Ex-Services and Citizens Club. Also at the event was Mel Whitechurch, who works in tourism with the Hilltops Council.

For those not in the know, Destination NSW is the premier NSW tourism organisation, and its Visit NSW website receives over 1.5 million customers per month.

Alison has responsibility for the Southern Tablelands region, and to this end, works with Destination NSW, local regional councils and tourism industry operators.

Her aim is to support the growth of the visitor economy, enhance visitor experience, and provide advice to potential tourism operators on government funding.

While we have seen growth in our economy because of the upsurge in COVID-induced domestic travel, Alison’s strong message was that we need to think international. It will only be a short time before international travel takes off and people will be wanting to come to regional NSW to experience what we can offer – rural experiences, good honest hospitality, and quality products and services.

Alison has spent time in Boorowa and Hilltops analysing our tourist products and experiences.

She said that our tourist themes are accurate and doable:

  • Our heritage past
  • Savour the southern
  • Immerse yourself in nature
  • Remarkable journeys

However, she said that we need more bookable experiences: experiences that mean tourists stay a night or two.

Alison thought that the recent “Hilltops Off The Beaten Track Art and Cultural Trail” initiative was a good example of attracting tourists – particularly those from Canberra and Sydney.

However, businesses need to adopt consistent opening hours so that tourists do not travel here only to be disappointed when they are greeted with a “Closed” sign on the door.

Alison’s research showed that tourists come looking for experiences first, and then they will book accommodation. Tourists particularly enjoy secluded accommodation experiences such as farm stays and AirBnBs in old cottages, for example. She said that research shows tourists want reliable Wifi and accessible, and pet-friendly accommodation.

At the end of Alison’s presentation, some participants broached her with their tourism ideas, which were well-received. Potential tourism operators can access free webinars through NSW First, and join Get Connected, a free program to list their product on VisitNSW.com and other partner sites.

Alison can be reached by emailing: alison.mead@dsnsw.com.au

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