Region’s heavyweights call for support of Skydive juggernaut

Leaping to their defence: Business and tourism lobbies called for support after a new council challenge over Skydive the Beach. Picture: Adam McLean.

Leaping to their defence: Business and tourism lobbies called for support after a new council challenge over Skydive the Beach. Picture: Adam McLean.

As another challenge mounts against Skydive the Beach, the region’s tourism and business lobbies have called for residents to take up the fight against those objecting to the company’s administration building in Stuart Park.

Destination Wollongong on Thursday issued a call to action, asking for local peak bodies and citizens to support what they said was “the city’s homegrown international adventure tourism success story”.

Tourism body chair Tania Brown highlighted the company’s international success and said Wollongong “should be thankful” the multi-million dollar ASX-listed company “had made such a strong and long term commitment to the local economy”.

General Manager Mark Sleigh warned objectors were driving the “absolute leaders” out of town.

“The Skydive the Beach model has been a massive success for Wollongong, we should be looking at how we can replicate it to attract more iconic tourism product to Wollongong, not driving them out of town,” he said.

Shortly after Destination Wollongong mobilised forces, the Illawarra Business Chamber followed suit, highlighting that Skydive was the largest skydiving operator in the world and the first adventure tourism business to be listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.

“Skydive the Beach operations bring some 100,000 visitors to the region annually and the business employs over 150 people in its head office in Wollongong,” IBC executive director Chris Lamont said.

“Since beginning operations Skydive the Beach has delivered more than 732,600 visitors to the region and they now want to become the largest adventure tourism business in the world, continuing to be based out of Wollongong.”

He said he believed the expansion of Skydive the Beach operations would be of economic benefit to Wollongong and the Illawarra.

“It is critical that adequate support is given to businesses like Skydive the Beach to achieve continued growth,” he said.