A hinterland to coast tourism campaign would be put to potential visitors if the state government decides Dungog and Port Stephens councils will merge.
Destination Port Stephens has publicly backed a merger between the two Local Goverment Areas, saying it could run a campaign similar to those that promote Queensland’s Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.
“The proposed amalgamation with Dungog can only be viewed as a positive and responsible move for the growth of a strong and sustainable visitor economy for both Port Stephens and Dungog,” chairman Allan Ray said.
“We look forward to a positive outcome for our members and industry from this process.”
Chairman Allan Ray said campaigns linking the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast had been successful in drawing people to the destination and giving them a range of options to pursue.
In a letter to the state government’s council boundary review, Mr Ray said Destination Port Stephens “would be able to extend the proven model to Dungog to grow the vital visitor economies in both regions”.
Mr Ray said a Port Stephens-Dungog campaign could build on Port Stephen’s focus of nature, food and adventure and incorporate Dungog’s products and village appeal.
He said that would create “a compelling and appealing hinterland to coast visitor experience similar to that for the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast”.
Destination Port Stephens is an industry-led and council supported tourism organisation that is backed by 319 tourism industry members.
“Our collaborative approach to destination management, marketing and development has created strong foundations for the successful growth of the Port Stephens visitor economy so this will provide significant benefit to a collective Dungog-Port Stephens partnership,” Mr Ray said.
“Our partnership model with industry and council has created a dynamic, adaptable and proactive organisation focused on results for key stakeholders.”
Mr Ray said Destination Port Stephens did not support a merger between Port Stephens and any other neighbouring council except Dungog.
He said government’s original proposal for Port Stephens to merge with Newcastle would have seriously jeopardised the marketing and development of Port Stephens as a thriving tourist destination.
“New, authentic experiences can be created, new product developed and existing destinations revitalised, ultimately increasing visitation and visitor spend in booth Dungog and Port Stephens,” Mr Ray said. He said it would open the doors to grants, tranining programs and media platforms.