Destination Wollongong will continue to drive the city’s booming tourism industry after entering into another five-year agreement with Wollongong City Council.
The Illawarra welcomed five million visitors in 2015, an increase of 17.5 percent on 2011, when the last agreement with Destination Wollongong was put in place.
Destination Wollongong Chair Tania Brown said the organisation had enjoyed long term strategic support from Wollongong City Council and the new agreement would allow it to consolidate its strategic plan for the region.
“Over the past five years we have seen strong growth in visitor numbers driven by a transition to digital marketing mediums and also the creation of a major business event department focused on bringing strategic events to Wollongong,” she said.
She said the Destination Wollongong Board had recently undertaken extensive strategic planning to ensure it is well placed to continue growing.
“Our vision is to ensure Wollongong is recognised as one of Australia’s premier regional destinations.
“We are proud of what we have achieved attracting an investor such as Royal Caribbean and will continue to work with them to grow this exciting new sector of the visitor economy. We would like to use a similar model to bring other tourism infrastructure to Wollongong and our goal is to become known as an area where it is easy to do business.
Destination Wollongong General Manager Mark Sleigh said the visitor economy of the Illawarra had matured in the past five years and the quality and variety of operators in the area has been instrumental in driving the growth in visitor numbers.
“It is vital as we move forward that we continue to work as a region to encourage visitors to turn south out of Sydney,” he said.
“The major event program which was developed as part of the 2011 funding agreement has been an enormous success, and we look forward to taking that program to another level with the roll-out of signature events which Wollongong will become synonymous with over the coming years.
“The opportunity afforded by the maiden voyage of Royal Caribbean in October is enormous for all businesses in the region. First and foremost it demonstrates that Wollongong can compete on a global stage, and that we shouldn’t be scared to have a vision and chase it.”