Chance to have your a say on Port Stephens' tourism policy review

Port Stephens tourist operators may be struggling due to the impact of bushfires, drought and coronavirus, but the long-term outlook in terms of dollars and jobs, according to a council report, remains bright.

Commenting on the Tourism Policy review reported at the February 25 meeting, councillors painted a rosy picture of the potential for increased visitor numbers with the many new and improved destinations in the pipeline.

"Get ready ... we have some exiting times ahead when you consider what's coming, the new shark and ray centre, koala hospital, coastal walk, all bringing in visitors," declared Cr Ken Jordan.

The policy under review recognises the economic, environmental and social benefits that a vibrant and sustainable tourism industry provides through increased employment, investment and infrastructure, attracting a broad range of local and international visitors each year.

Visitor numbers have increased substantially, according to the report, from 2.78 million in 2017 to 3.6 million in 2018/19; with visitors spending an estimated $621 million across the LGA, and employing 2140 people, up from 1700 in 2017.

The policy review is on public exhibition for a period of 28 days and residents and operators are being urged to lodge submissions.

Meanwhile, the council is supporting entrepreneurs or businesses looking to enhance Port Stephens' visitor experience through its Visitor Economy Start House program.

The program is run in four stages from May to September and is worth $4000 but will only cost participants $99.

To learn more seminars will be held at Nelson Bay from 5pm -7.30pm on Tuesday, March 10, and at Medowie 5pm -7.30pm on Wednesday, March 18.