AROUND 150 tourism operators and organisations from around the South East got together for two days of networking and brainstorming as part of the Tourism Future summit organised by Sapphire Coast Tourism.
Tourism businesses and stakeholders attended from the Bega and Eurobodalla shires, as well as northeast Victoria and Canberra, while peak bodies involved included Tourism Australia, Destination NSW and Visit Canberra.
Tourism and marketing manager from Sapphire Coast Tourism, Anthony Osborne was instrumental in bringing everyone together.
“It is all about networking and identifying opportunities and making sure that the various bodies are working as one and are aware of what work is being done to drive the tourism economy,” Osborne said.
The summit began on Wednesday with a workshop hosted by Carnival Australia cruise lines where around 40 tourism operators were informed what cruise passengers wanted when disembarking.
This was followed by a sold-out dinner at Merimbula.
On Thursday, the summit moved to the Four Winds site south of Bermagui where there were more guest speakers and workshops, including the product manager from Carnival Australia cruise lines speaking about the cruise market and insights and innovation related to the port of Eden.
Planning director at Canberra Airport, Noel McCann gave an update on international flights and opportunities for the region to leverage.
Jonathon Kobus from Visit Canberra spoke about how the region could work with inbound tourists to the ACT, while Carolyn Childs from MyTravelResearch spoke about trends in nature-based tourism.
The afternoon session hosted by Destination NSW on profitable tourism partnerships.
Osborne said it was not about borders but having the different regions in the South East collaborating together, from Canberra to the Eurobodalla and down to Victoria.
There was an emphasis on the nature, food and heritage tourism with National Parks also involved, with acknowledgment that the unspoiled natural beauty of the region was what drew tourists from all areas.
The next step was to strengthen the linkages and continue collaboration with partners, as well as involving specific operators and potential investors to work together to boost the tourism economy, he said.