MEDIA RELEASE - Liberal-National cuts force cancellation of Regional Tourism Awards

The NSW Labor Opposition has slammed the Liberal-National Government for failing the regional tourism sector, after it was revealed the Regional Tourism Awards have been cancelled due to the failure to find a Major Partner. Shadow Minister for Investment and Tourism Jenny Aitchison MP called on the Government to sponsor the awards to enable them to go ahead this year. The Awards which commenced in 2004 (originally known as the Inland NSW Tourism Awards - INTA) are a major tourism industry event for regional New South Wales. In announcing the cancellation of the Regional Tourism Awards organisers have admitted that “in the past we’ve seen a dip in entries for the NSW Tourism Awards when there has been no Regional Tourism Awards.” In addition, cancelling the awards will mean the winners and finalists from all categories will lose out on thousands of dollars’ worth of free advertising through the promotion of the awards as well as the crucial professional development and networking opportunities they provide. It is also another blow to the regional tourism events industry, with the awards ceremony typically held in regional locations such as the Riverina or the Central West. To add insult to injury, the cancellation of the Regional Tourism Awards comes in the wake of devastating bushfires, ongoing drought and coronavirus, which has resulted in a significant downturn for many businesses at what should have been their busiest time of the year. Ms Aitchision said it was a slap in the face to regional operators. “The savage $65 million in cuts to Destination NSW over the last two budgets, have left the organisation without the capacity to step in and support regional tourism businesses across the state. “Regional NSW is hurting right now, tourism operators are hurting. This is a great risk to jobs all across regional communities. To lose the Regional Tourism Awards is just devastating and it’s time the NSW Government backed in our tourism operators. “It’s not just the exposure and networking that make events like this so important but also the lift to morale it brings at such a difficult and critical time.” Ms Aitchsion has demanded the Liberal-National Government immediately step forward to provide funding to Destination NSW to sponsor the awards. “The NSW Liberal-National Government has cut millions out of the regional tourism marketing and events budget for Destination NSW in the last few years. Our tourism industry have so much to be proud of and promote but there is no budget to do it.”

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